How cultural institutions are entering monthly giving

Yesterday, the American Alliance of Museums put out an interesting piece on how cultural institutions are entering monthly giving.  On the one hand, these organizations tend to lag the average nonprofit on monthly giving adoption, with some of the earliest programs starting only in 2015.

On the other hand, however, in starting late, they’ve been able to learn from pioneers.  Now they are a few tactics that even those who have doing monthly giving for a while can learn from:

Making the monthly giving offer an IQ test



Above you can see the membership pitch for the San Antonio Zoo that started last year.  As you can, benefits go up from left to right, but prices don’t necessarily.  Instead, for $3 a month ($36 a year), you can get more than you can for a $44 one-time gift: early summer entry and 20% off admission for friends and family.  Same for each of the categories: you get a little more for a little less if you choose to make a monthly gift.

The ability to discern this only requires you to be able to multiply by 12.  This is what I mean by making the offer an IQ test — it’s simply to be able to see the monthly giving offer is a better deal.

If you have a benefits-based monthly giving program or membership deal, this can be an approach for you where you make the deal too good to pass up.

Target a specific audience



The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver knows that inclination to give monthly skews younger.  (That is, younger people who donate are more likely to be willing to make their gifts monthly — the bulk of monthly givers still aren’t in the Millennial or Gen Z categories just because the bulk of overall givers are older.)

They also want to build a habit of young people coming to the museum that hopefully will continue as they are older.

Thus you can see the low price point and the youth-focused advertisement.  As someone who last had hair during the Bush Administration, this ad did not appeal at all to me, which is probably a good sign that it will appeal to the 18-to-35-year-old folks they are targeting.

Include a larger base of people



This is a classic audience for child sponsorship monthly giving programs.  Many parents who sponsor a child want are doing it at least in part for their own child: to help them see their privilege, to broaden their horizons, and to instill values of services to others.

Bringing in family and friends need not be limited to this and gala tables, though.  Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh’s offer above starts off with family membership, knowing how that’s how many families want to experience the museum.  This also makes it much easier than having to register individual members separately.

Hopefully this AAM piece helped you with some tactics that could help your own monthly giving programs!

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