Built to Last...Part 2 of 3
Monthly giving programs are only as strong as the giver experiences they deliver and as the people and processes that guide and systemize them.
Some programs are shooting stars that rise and quickly burn out. Others steadily grow and then hit a plateau, where they linger. The special ones are those that take flight and keep growing year-after year.
What do the special ones have in common?
Long-term thriving monthly giving programs are intentionally launched and strategically nurtured with special care for the three Ps: Product, People, and Process.
Product – As described in the previous edition, MEGables Volume 3.
People – Vision, tenacity, and consistency are the critical qualities of the leaders and doers that launch, lead, and manage long-term successful monthly giving programs. Usually there are two individuals (two roles) working in tandem, a dynamic duo of sorts, that are especially vital to launching and shepherding the most enduringly successful programs.
One half of the duo is the visionary leader. She or he is the one who sees monthly giving as a strategic fundraising priority. This leader understands that monthly giving delivers a predictable and growing revenue stream and becomes a relationship framework for systematically engaging donors with the mission of the university or organization. Additionally, the visionary leader knows that a monthly giving program is part of a donor relationship continuum and serves as a sort of farm system for cultivating givers that often go on to become major givers and legacy donors. Using his or her influence power and tenacity, the visionary leader garners top leadership and staff support and wins investment approval for the program. That leader takes the critical next step of finding the other half of the “dynamic duo,” the right person to handle the day-to-day marketing and operations execution of the program.
The other half of the duo helps operationalize the program. She or he should be adept at establishing processes and with building relationships. With mentoring and support from the visionary leader, this day-to-day program manager is the people-power that allows the program to get past the fragile program infancy stage in which many monthly giving efforts fail. The manager puts the processes in place that allow the program to scale and get to critical mass for sustainability. A rule-of-thumb for critical mass is membership of 100 to 150 monthly givers.
Departures of one of the two or the duo before the program reaches critical mass often is a significant setback. The longer the tenure of the dynamic duo, the more predictable the monthly giving program’s growth trajectory will be.
The second P, people, is the most vital of the three Ps. Only people have the capacity to inspire, create, manage and adapt. That said, without a carefully crafted first P, Product, as described in MEGables Volume 3 (insert link to MEGables Volume 3 here) and the third P, Process, your monthly giving program will not realize its full potential.
Stay tuned for MEGables Volume 5 in January 2018 to feature Built to Last...Part 3 of 3 with a primary focus on the third P, Process.