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Monthly Giving Made Easy - An Interview with Erica Waasdorp

In this episode, Andrew visits with Erica Waasdorp, author of Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant and Monthly Giving Made Easy, as well as President and Founder of A Direct Solution. She has been in the monthly giving game for close to 30 years and has tons of expertise in this area. Together they discussed the question about subscriptions versus monthly gifts, six easy steps for launching a program and strategies for how to keep your donors giving for a long, long time.


Show Notes

Erica is originally from the Netherlands, speaks 5 languages and is the author of two books, Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant and Monthly Giving Made Easy.



She is President and Founder of A Direct Solution. Erica started her career in Readers Digest, married an American and moved to United States in 1993. After they moved, she worked for a big animal organization and took on their monthly giving program. 

She later started A Direct Solution and had the idea for her first book at a conference where she saw the lack of information on monthly giving. 

Erica is passionate about monthly giving because it really keeps the lights on when disaster hits. 


Subscription Based

With subscriptions you get something in exchange for your payment. With monthly giving, your reward is that you are doing something good. 

The fact is that the donor is participating with other people to make an impact. But how do you convey that to your donors? That they are part of this unique community.


Author - Books

Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant

Monthly Giving Made Easy

It was a two year process where she just started writing. And she wanted to find a way to help organizations from not doing a monthly giving program. She wanted to remove the excuses of not having a program.

Now, with the advancements in software, there is no reason not to do it. It's so easy now. 


What can you do now?

Step 1: Commit

Step 2: Write down a goal

Step 3: Look for opportunities

Step 4: Communicate (testimonials)

Step 5: Campaign to grow (sustainer drive)

Step 6: Add a welcome series for new donors


Create Time

You need to commit a certain amount of time each week to focus on monthly giving. Even if it's one hour every Monday. As you see it grow, it becomes interesting and powerful and you can share that with other people. 



What are some mistakes that you see?

Mistake 1: They don't even ask

Mistake 2: Asking too high

Mistake 3: Not committing to it

You need to give it a year of consistent work.


Lightening Round

  1. If you could fund-raise for any organization or cause at any time in history, what would it be?
    • Dynamic Catholic
  2. If you could get a donor meeting with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
    • Dolly Parton
  3. Is there enough money out there for every organization that's doing good work?
    • Yes, there is, but you have to ask for it
  4. What is one piece of advice that you would give your past self?
    • Be more patient
  5. Who are 3 people who have most influenced you, professionally?
    • Her mentor at one of her jobs, Dick Miller, Tom Hurley and her husband
  6. What is one fact about Erica that most people don’t know?
    • She is Dutch, speaks five languages and loves ballroom dancing
  7. What is a book that you would recommend?
    • “Asking" by Jerold Panas


If you would like to connect with Erica, you can subscribe to her newsletter at A Direct Solutions


Andrew's Take-Aways:

1. What Erica was saying about subscriptions and monthly giving. There are similarities in the mechanics of paying automatically for a service or product and giving to a nonprofit, but her points about the donor being in control of the amount was really helpful for me. There is also the point that when you sign up for a streaming or bill paying service, you are getting something in return. As long as you see value, you will keep doing it. With monthly giving, there is not that direct return. This means that as the nonprofit, you have to work hard to continue cultivating and stewarding your monthly donors so they see the impact of their gifts. 


2. The six steps that Erica laid out for launching a monthly giving program. First you have to commit. This cannot work if you send out an email asking for monthly gifts and then never do anything else. You have to commit time and energy to a launch and know that it will take time to grow. Number 2, you set a goal. This goal will change as the program grows but committing to a goal of some sort gives everyone a target. Number 3, look for opportunities to pick up gifts everywhere. Website, newsletters, appeals, events. Everything can be an opportunity for monthly gifts if you think about it in that way. Number 4, communicate. Tell the story of your monthly donors. Tell the impact of those gifts. Get testimonials. Don't think that you can over-communicate this because you cannot. Number 5, start a drive or mini-campaign when you launch. Build some excitement and you'll have much higher levels of engagement. And number 6, start a welcome series for your new donors and use that to encourage monthly gifts. We always say that your best prospect for a gift is an existing donor. So why not ask your donors for more gifts. Six easy steps but approaching this with a strategy will pay off for a long time. 


3. Don't start your ask amount too high. This is a little counterintuitive to major gift strategy because you want to ask high and let the donor bring the amount down if they want. In that case, you already know that your major gift prospects love the organization and want to give. With monthly gifts, especially for newer donors, you want this to be an entry point to a chance to cultivate more. Getting someone in the door for $15 or $20 gives you the chance to build that relationship. Having more donors giving monthly at small levels is much more valuable than securing a high monthly gift from fewer people. So be mindful about that when launching your monthly giving program and making those asks.



If you have any questions, email us at [email protected]. Please reach out and I would love to connect. God bless you and your work and I will continue to pray for your success.


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