6 December 2021 | Article | Gabrielle Gean

Tele-Converting One-Time Donors to Recurring Donors

“How do I grow my regular giving donor base?” – this is a question that many nonprofits grapple with. Now there may be many ways to go about it, but how do we know which is the best?

One fundraising approach stands out among many – converting one-time donors to recurring donors.

While one-time donors are a significant segment for many nonprofits, recurring donors are champions. Simply because they’re a sustainable and predictable source of income. In fact, recurring donations have a higher return-on-investment (ROI) compared to one-time donations.

Let’s take a look at the contribution of a regular vs one-time donor over a year, in Asia.


In this article, we focus on using telemarketing to convert nonprofits’ existing one-time donors to grow their regular giving donor base.

First, decide on the best conversion strategy

Will you approach your one-time donors through a call, email, or direct mail to ask for a monthly pledge? This sounds straightforward, but that’s not always the case. Segmentation is key to unlocking the ideal one-time donor profile to target for your conversion campaign. Among other factors to consider are:

  • the contact and conversion rates for each type of appeal
  • how donors have chosen to be reached

It’s worth mentioning that some nonprofits thrive on multiple one-time donations, so every nonprofit should define the ideal balance between that and regular giving, according to their needs.

Bring understanding through communication

With telemarketing, it’s not only about asking donors to give. It’s also the most effective method to nurture one-time donors and eventually turn them into recurring donors. Through conversations, donors gain a deeper understanding of recurring donations’ impact on the cause. The sooner you plan the follow-up request, the higher chance you may receive a second donation. In this case, we’ve broken down the example of a follow-up telemarketing strategy:

  • For one-time donors who gave small amounts, you can emphasize how affordable and impactful it can be should they turn their one-time donation into a monthly one. $10 over the course of a year would come up to $120, and that would propel the cause much further as compared to a one-time donation.
  • For one-time donors who gave larger amounts, break the donation amount into monthly instalments. If the donor gave one $300 donation last year, ask for a $30 monthly commitment. This way, it increases their annual donation, enables them to contribute more sustainably, while assuring a continuous donation on your end.

The power of human-to-human engagement is critical especially in the nonprofit world, as we rely on humanity to help us make a significant impact on society.

Of course, communication also goes both ways!

At the heart of it, you must understand why your donors donate to your organisation and what they get out of it. Appealing to all the reasons donors choose to contribute is difficult to achieve at once, therefore it may necessitate a diverse strategy.

Prioritise depending on your budget, scope, and intuition about what would be most effective with your present donors. You have worked hard to obtain these one-time donations, so don’t be afraid to reach out and turn them into recurring donors.

Even as digital channel use expands, telemarketing methods continue to advance. Integrating phone outreach into direct-marketing fundraising efforts may substantially enhance effectiveness and create a meaningful dialogue with donors. However, at the same time, don’t forget about your current recurring donors. Take the effort to create segmented and customised campaigns for both one-time and recurring donors.

For more information about our telemarketing practices, reach out to us at consulting@sgsupport.com or drop us a comment on our LinkedIn page.

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