What Can You Do If Your Monthly Donors’ Payments Are Not Coming In?
Two weeks ago, I was checking my credit card statement and noticed several iTunes charges on it. The charges were going up in value. Believe it or not, I don’t have an iTunes account, so that was an immediate flag.
I called the credit card company right away to dispute the charges. They, of course, canceled my card and sent me a new card.
I’ve used this card for multiple monthly donations, so I should really call the organizations to provide my updated information.
Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest dilemmas monthly donor programs face: Changed cards.
Oftentimes, donors forget that their card expired, so they will not take the initiative to call you with that new information. It’s up to you to keep an eye on this and take action right away!
So, here’s what I recommend:
Assign one day a month where you typically charge the cards and check which payments did not come in. (In some systems, you may even see which cards are expiring before you charge them—even better!) Then, you immediately jump on the phone, send out an email asking the donor to call you with the updated information and send a letter they can send return with the info. By all means, if you can’t speak to the donor live, leave a message, asking them to call you.
If you’re also offering the automatic bank withdrawal (EFT/ACH) option, you’ll find that the number of monthly donors whose payment does not come in is much smaller, but you may still have to contact them. The bank usually provides a reason for payment rejection, which will help you in contacting the donors.
Do whatever you can to get the donor’s updated information. The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll lose that monthly donor.
A while back, I did a Monthly Donor Retention Check-Up, where I joined 20 organizations to see what they’d do when my card expired. Only three organizations called me to get my updated information. Let’s see what happens this time!
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is author of the book "Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant." She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals.
She just co-authored the "Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing Kit" with Donor Perfect, and she’s working on her next book called "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving—in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and cat, Mientje.
You can reach Erica at email@example.com or by phone at (508) 776-1224.