Greater Chicago Food Depository: Sustaining Donors

Project Description

Charity Dynamics helped the Greater Chicago Food Depository increase the number of sustaining donors who upgraded their monthly gift. We developed a personalized email series thanking sustainers for their support and inviting them to make a bigger impact by upgrading their recurring gift amount.

To learn more, visit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Project Details

Client Greater Chicago Food Depository
Skills Strategy, Engagement, Fundraising, UX Design, Technology


Sustainer-giving is a fast growing sector in online giving: It represented 11% of total online revenue in 2016. Donors love the convenience of supporting organizations they care about through recurring charges to their credit card or automatic debits to their bank account.

But as easy as it is to sign up as a sustaining donor, existing user experiences on most online giving platforms make it incredibly difficult to modify a recurring payment. As a result, organizations are unable to upgrade this growing pool of incredibly loyal donors, missing out on thousands of dollars of revenue.


We developed a personalized email series thanking sustaining donors for their support. The messages illustrated the difference donors had made through their gifts and invited them to make an even larger impact by upgrading their recurring gift amount, with suggested asks based on their current level of giving.

By clicking through links in the email, donors were taken to a webpage that offered them the same personalized upgrade options they had seen in the email. In just two clicks, donors could select a new giving amount and submit their upgrade without entering user name or password.

Immediately after hitting “submit,” donors saw a thank you message informing them that their new recurring gift amount would take effect on their next scheduled payment date.


  • 6% of all email recipients upgraded their monthly commitment.
  • 8% of recipients who opened the email converted.
  • 5% of recipients who clicked through converted.
  • The average upgrade was $11.25 per month—$135 a year!
  • After the successful launch email series, a plan was developed to incorporate meaningful upgrade opportunities throughout the cultivation and solicitation schedule for these loyal donors.

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