The JAM Collective is “Just About Monthlies”

Disponible en français

Here’s what that means to you and why you should get in while the gettin’s good.

JAM Collective is an effort to create more thought leadership and benchmarking data for the monthly and sustainer donor fundraising community. (We use monthly and sustainer interchangeably. In Canada, we call them monthly, in the US we call them sustainers. JAM Collective will be a North American, and eventually a global, program.)

A robust and active sustainer file is crucial for any modern fundraising organization because it offers the highest ROI and acts as a robust upgrade pool for major and planned giving programs. However, if you’re like most fundraising organizations, you’re spending your energy on acquiring sustainer donors rather than on retaining and upgrading them.

There is an abundance of industry information on sustainer acquisition. There is much less intelligence on sustainer retention and upgrade KPIs and metrics. And unfortunately, acquisition costs for monthly donors are steadily increasing, putting pressure on your return on investment.

Basic sustainer math tells us that there are only four ways to improve the ROI from monthly donors:

  1. Decrease the cost of acquiring them
  2. Increase the average gift size
  3. Increase the amount of time you retain them
  4. Upgrade them by giving more and more often

JAM Collective will focus on the last two.

Basic Sustainer Formula:

Sharing is caring.
Four steps to improving the monthly experience.

“Just About Monthlies ” or JAM Collective will begin with a small number of participating organizations in 2023. We are inviting 5 to 8 organizations to join in 2023 for a two-year membership in the Collective. Each year, new classes will be added to the Collective.

  1. In Year 1, participants in JAM Collective will share their primarily donor journeys for sustainer/monthly donors. ST will mystery shop the experience, making sure the actual donor journey matches the plans. Then ST will aggregate all donor journeys into a benchmark report, paying particular attention to channel, frequency, tone, upgrade messaging, etc. This benchmark report will show each JAM participant journey in contrast to others in the Collective.
  2. Once the benchmark report is ready for release, ST will host the first roundtable with participants from each of the JAM Collective members. The only rule at the table will be “no talking about acquisition” since this conversation is focused on retention and upgrade. Our goal is to provide a forum for thought leaders to talk specifically about journeys that improve retention and upgrade.
  3. Year 2 will focus on A/B testing primary sustainer donor journeys, as well as quarterly KPI check-ins with JAM members. ST will create a donor journey testing strategy for each member based on their current journey and insights uncovered from the benchmarking report. The member will execute the test and report back results to the Collective. Donor journey testing is time-intensive and expensive. One of the key benefits of joining the JAM Collective will be that you will learn what others are testing without having to execute all the tests yourself. As a Collective, we will share, learn and improve retention and upgrade of your hard-earned sustainer donors together.
  4. Finally, we plan to overlay additional data into the JAM Collective such as consumer journeys from Netflix, Blue Apron and other high-profile subscription businesses. We already have interest from artificial intelligence partners as well as payment partners to augment the Collective data set with additional signals that may help identify donor segments with a higher propensity to lapse or upgrade.

We would be delighted to discuss this more with you and offer a short presentation that goes into more depth.


Stephen Thomas

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