4 Ways your CRM can help you grow your nonprofit sustainer program

June 24, 2021 | Grace Duginski

Nonprofit sustainer programs are a fantastic way to convert new supporters, build long-term relationships, and reach your revenue goals in order to fund important work.

Our friend Maureen Wallbeoff knows the secret to growing your sustainer program without a lot of extra staff or time—using your fundraising platform to help you get there efficiently! Here are some strategies for leveraging your CRM to grow your recurring gift program and fund your mission for the long run.

Q: How can my CRM support my goal of growing my sustainer program?

A: There are some very important monthly sustainer program management tools that you should be looking for.

This is true whether they’re already in your existing CRM or, if you’re in the market, that you should be evaluating in potential new products.

1. Credit card updater

The first is a credit card updater! That means if I’m a donor, when my credit card needs to be updated in the system—because I’ve got a new expiration date, or because the bank sent me a new card—your system will automatically update that information for me. This will help us both make sure that my monthly payment will keep on firing every single month, just like it does now.

2. Automatic gift processing

The second thing I really want you to look for is a system that’s able to automatically process those monthly gifts, without a human person needing to think about it. If I became a monthly supporter last month on the 15th, your CRM should charge me every month automatically on the same date. It’s a really helpful tool for nonprofit teams, so you can just pay attention to the money as it comes in and not manually process those cards on your own.

3. Strong segmentation capabilities

The third aspect of tools that support a growing sustainer program is the ability to segment effectively! You want to be able to quickly and easily identify all of your wonderful monthly supporters, because you’ll want to send them special messages. Maybe it’s not every week, maybe it’s not even every month, but for donor stewardship it’s always a great idea to send out a note to your sustainers about four times a year, or once a quarter.

4. Easy donor upgrades

And then finally, you want a sustainer system that’s going to make it easy for you and your supporters to uplevel their monthly gift. If I’m a recurring donor who started giving $20 a month two years ago, many CRMs these days will let you as a nonprofit staffer identify those $20-a-month donors, and then make it very easy for me as the supporter to uplevel my gift and start giving $30 or $40 a month without needing to stop my existing donation and start a new one—we all know the likelihood of your supporters doing that stop-and-start procedure on their own is pretty slim because it’s not terribly efficient, so if your CRM can help you optimize that process, it’ll help you see better results.

Learn more about how your platform can help you advance your mission and meet your sustainer fundraising goals—download our guide to managing change with sustainer fundraising, and meet Maureen.