Monthly Donor Metrics Every Nonprofit Should Know

Monthly Donors: Grow Your Most Loyal Base

Committed and enthusiastic about your cause, monthly donors provide your nonprofit with a reliable source of revenue through small monthly donations that add up to a sizeable annual total.

Monthly donors are retained donors, serving as the foundation of your organization’s success. Their loyalty provides a predictable and reliable revenue stream that goes beyond the basics – finding new ways to champion your mission.

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A Little Bit Over Time Amounts to a Lot for a Lifetime

For many donors it’s easier to donate a small amount every month rather than give a large, one-time gift. But don’t underestimate the impact of these donors. Data from DonorPerfect shows they make a sizeable dent in giving overall.

Monthly donors give 7x more than one-time donors.

Average annual contributions







Monthly donors are more likely to upgrade their recurring gift amount.

Percentage of donors who upgrade







Check Yourself: What are Your Donor Retention Metrics?

Effective donor retention strategies require you to determine your baseline, define success, and measure your progress toward your goals through reporting.

Want to excel at retaining donors? Here are 4 important metrics you should keep tabs on regularly:

  • Donor retention rate
  • Donor attrition rate
  • Gift retention
  • Donor lifetime value
Note that online donor data platforms like DonorPerfect calculate, track, and display these metrics for you, but if you’d like to do the math yourself, formulas are provided below.

Donor Retention Rate: the ratio of donors you retain to donors who do not give again

Your donor retention rate is easy to calculate. For example, if you have 1,000 donors in year 1 but only 400 of those give again in year 2, your donor retention rate would be 400/1000, or 40 percent.

Donor Attrition Rate: the ratio of donors who do not give again to the ratio of donors you retain

Your donor attrition rate is the inverse of your donor retention rate: attrition rate = 1 minus the retention rate. For example, if your donor retention rate is 40%, your attrition rate is 60%.

Gift Retention Rate: the amount donated by your retained donors year over year

Your gift retention rate reveals how much money you’re keeping through retention by calculating how much donors gave again this year divided by the amount those same donors gave last year. It’s best used in determining whether your retained donors are giving the same amount or upgrading year after year.

Donor Lifetime Value (LTV): how much money a donor will give to your organization from the first donation to the last

This must-know metric is crucial to your development budget, as it determines how much money you should invest to acquire a new donor or to keep a donor for the long term.

This is how it works using our example figures and increasing retention rate from 40 percent to 60 percent (which reduces the attrition rate from 60% to 40%):

  • Lifetime of donor = 1/0.4 = 2.5 years
  • Lifetime value = 2.5 x $500 = $1,250.00

The impact of your donor retention rate is difficult to ignore, For example, if you can increase your retention rate by just 20 percent, your donor LTV increases by 50 percent.

Boost Your Retention Rate with a Monthly Giving Program

Do your donors know that they can effortlessly support your organization on a regular basis? Shine a spotlight on recurring giving as a celebrated way to champion your cause by starting a monthly giving program. A monthly giving program ensures that your donors know that they can sign up to donate monthly in any amount they choose.

Why is the monthly donor so sought after? Monthly donors stay with an organization longer than episodic donors, between five and seven years on average. DonorPerfect users who have implemented a monthly giving program report retaining up to 90% of their donors – who stay with the organization an average of 10 years!

Your monthly giving program can help your organization in many ways, because it enables you to:

  • Retain more donors for longer.
  • Raise more money.
  • Worry less about cash flow.
  • Give donors convenience they want.
  • Save time with automatic recurring donation processing.
  • Gain time to share the impact donors are making.

But will it work? Of course it will!

Living Hope International is just one example of how nonprofits can put the concept of “subscribing” to an organization to work in a way that sustains and propels their mission.

60% of LHI’s Donors Joined Their Monthly Giving Program

Living Hope International leans on their consistent flow of monthly gifts to bring daily comfort and support to the children in their care.

With the help of automatic monthly giving, this organization has been able to engage donors effortlessly from all over the world and make a difference.

Read their story

Thank You Letters Donors Will Love

The key to retaining monthly donors? Thank them. Thank them often. And take “thank you” a step further by showing them the real and radical results of their decision to give to your organization each and every month.

Get monthly giving thank you letter and email templates in the full guide.

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Don’t Have a Monthly Giving Program?

Download your free Monthly Giving Starter Kit for step-by-step instructions on how to get your Monthly Giving program off the ground quickly and effectively.

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Manage Monthly Donors Easily

The biggest benefit of being a monthly donor is that they can take a “set it and forget it” approach to supporting an organization they care about.

But donors aren’t the only ones who benefit from the ease of monthly gifts. Your nonprofit can kick back and enjoy the perks as well when you’re equipped with the software to make it happen.

Accepting recurring gifts through online forms makes giving monthly easy for everyone.

DonorPerfect accommodates many features that can increase the success of your monthly giving program, including:

  • Forms you can customize with your logo and branding
  • The ability to offer recurring donations and preselect recurring giving on forms
  • The ability to display a video and social share buttons on your form
  • Automatic acknowledgements that say thanks faster
  • Credit and debit acceptance (80% of monthly donors)
  • Account Updater service to keep card information current
  • Automatic Monthly Giving that processes gifts for you, on a basis you set

Get a demo of DonorPerfect

Discover how easy managing and growing your monthly giving program can be with DonorPerfect. Sign up for a demo at a time that’s best for you or give us a call at 800.220.8111.

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