I founded the RFC in 1990, and by the middle of that decade we had several thousand supporters. Although a number of them made inquiries about becoming monthly recurring donors or “sustainers,” out of fear of administrative complications I resisted the impulse to establish such a program. However, once we began accepting online contributions it became much easier to process recurring gifts, and in 2009 we began to promote the program in earnest.
By then the economy had crashed down upon us and we recognized that giving $100, $50 or even $25 at once might be too great a financial strain for many of our supporters during such hard times. Meanwhile, the needs of our beneficiaries grew as the recession lengthened. We realized that for our contributors, making recurring monthly or quarterly payments of as little as $5 or $10 would spread the gifts into conveniently budgeted payments. This made it easier for people to give so we weren’t forced to dramatically reduce the amounts of aid we could provide to the children of targeted activists.
Recurring gifts benefit the RFC by providing us with a reliable source of support. We don’t have to send as many letters asking for donations. This saves us work time, benefits the environment and reduces mailing costs. Moreover, since the vast majority of sustainers give online we also save on processing costs.
I’m gratified that sustainers provided us with $12,000 in 2011, but I think we could do a lot better. Fewer than 100 of our donors have joined the program. This low level of participation is perplexing since it is easy to do and doesn’t require contributors to give more. Perhaps we’ve not done as good a job of spreading the word of its virtues as we could have. So I’ve quoted a few testimonials from current sustainers below to make the case for us:
“I am a sustainer because I want you to know that what I give will come in each month. That way, I hope you are able to focus on the work of RFC, rather than on fundraising.” – Lorraine, RFC supporter since the 1990’s
“Before I became a Sustainer I contributed to the RFC periodically. Being a Sustainer makes me feel that I am making a permanent contribution to help the RFC sustain its mission.” – Cynthia, RFC supporter since 2004.
“Every month I give you something directly from my checking account...I wish more folks like me would just do the same. It's not that painful...you give only what you can afford. It makes SO much difference in the lives of these precious children and in the future of this precarious country.”
– Dennis, RFC supporter since 2004
“When I found out about RFC, I started donating as soon as I could. I then turned it into a monthly donation... RFC is a beautiful idea ... I couldn't save [the Rosenbergs], but I can help [the Rosenbergs’ son] to save children.” – Esther, RFC supporter since 2001
I hope our current sustainers have helped to convince you. If they have, please visit www.rfc.org\recurringdonation to set up your monthly or quarterly gift using your credit or debit card; the process is easy, fast and secure. You can also contact us to request a supply of pre-addressed donation envelopes to make easy monthly or quarterly contributions the old-fashioned way, by mail.
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