The missing opportunity

I’ve been doing a lot of donating lately – mostly to organizations fighting climate chance, preserving natural wonders and the like.  I’ve completed a lot of donation forms and the one thing that’s always missing is the choice to make my donation recur quarterly or yearly.  In fact, only the Center for Biological Diversity had a quarterly donation option, which I happily clicked.

Monthly donations, which at first sound like a good idea, leave a lot of money in the hands of credit card companies that are taking a snip out every monthly gift I give.

Many organizations also spend an inordinate amount of effort and money re-enrolling their members on a yearly basis. The Museum of Science in Boston is the notable exception that has figured out that all they need to do is send us an email with a reminder that our membership renews in 30 days, then charge our card. We never object and it’s far easier for us to support their work and much easier for them to collect our membership fee.

For most non-profits, the cost in the software and process changes that would make the automatic yearly donations possible would be easily covered by the increased returns. This is the same strong force (some call it nudge) behind the Opt-Out systems that increase retirement savings rates, clean electricity participation, etc. It’s time for the non-profit sector to get on board.