July 27, 2022

Three Ways Recurring Giving Can Make a Major Impact for Donors and Nonprofits

Donors and nonprofits can both use recurring grants as an opportunity to build longer-term commitments, sustain deeper relationships and foster more trust.

Author National Philanthropic Trust

With so much uncertainty in our daily lives, some things are remarkably consistent—monthly payments, notices and reminders ranging from bills, to investments, to subscriptions.

For donors, there’s an important opportunity to give on a regular basis, too. Recurring grantmaking—also sometimes known as sustaining grantmaking—is a boon for donors and the nonprofit organizations they support. Monthly or quarterly grants allow donors to support their favorite causes and organizations year-round. And recurring giving helps grantee organizations in more ways than one.

As you look ahead to the second half of the year, consider setting up regular, recurring donations to your favorite nonprofits. We’ve gathered three reasons why donors should consider recurring grants:

Recurring Giving is Easy and Convenient (It’s Good for Donors)

Instead of juggling important dates and deadlines or rushing to make those year-end donations, donors can let an automatic, recurring grant alleviate some of the stress of remembering when and where to donate in the already-busy holiday season. Because recurring giving is gaining popularity, especially with younger donors, nonprofits have made it easier than ever to establish a regular donation schedule.

Donors with donor-advised funds have a special advantage. DAF donors are in a great position to give recurring grants because the dollars in their accounts are pre-committed to charitable purposes. And donors who give using NPT’s GivingPoint platform can easily set up a recurring grant in monthly, quarterly or twice-yearly installments. Donors can elect a total amount they wish to give annually (say, $10,000) and split the cost over a defined period (a quarterly grant of $2,500, or a monthly donation of $833.34).

Recurring Giving Means Peace of Mind (It’s Good for Nonprofits)

Because so much charitable giving happens at the end of the calendar year, nonprofit development staff and leaders are continuously searching for ways to even out their fundraising calendars and forecast budgets. Recurring grantmaking helps ease the administrative burden on nonprofits during the end of year by spreading out fundraising dollars (and the operational commitments those dollars entail) over longer periods of time. This ability to plan is especially important for smaller and local organizations with fewer resources. A regular revenue stream throughout the year allows nonprofit staff to make more efficient use of time and resources.

Recurring donations can also open up opportunities for long-term, strategic thinking, or allow grantees to invest in new program offerings. If an organization knows it can expect regular grant dollars from a donor, it can help buoy them during economic downturns. While one-time and annual donations are undeniably helpful and impactful, a commitment to recurring grants can go even further by bringing additional security and planning to nonprofits.

Recurring Giving Fosters Engagement and Trust (It’s Good for Everyone)

Donors are increasingly sophisticated. They want to know not just that their donations were received, but that they are making a real difference. For nonprofits, regular and recurring giving not only signals donors’ commitment to an organization’s mission, it means that they are continually engaged in the organization’s work throughout the year.

As the nonprofit sector continues to adapt in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid inflation and ongoing economic uncertainty, many donors are looking for ways to deepen their impact and make their giving go even further. Recurring grantmaking is an excellent place to start. Consider including recurring grants in your philanthropic strategy and bring this impactful grantmaking tool to your favorite causes and organizations.

About the Author

Ali Gathers is a Senior Associate for Philanthropic Solutions at NPT. She provides support and specialized grantmaking assistance for Supporting Organizations and Special Projects. Ms. Gathers holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University.