How Easy or Hard Should Monthly Gift Cancellations Be?
I just finished going through all of the donations I made last year to prepare for my taxes. I use two credit cards and a banking account for my monthly gifts, so it was a little bit of a process.
First, thank you to those organizations who sent me a tax letter! That was helpful.
When I was reviewing my gifts, I thought about those organizations I didn’t feel an affinity with any longer. Or I didn’t feel they were making me feel special. Some I had joined as a monthly donor and virtually heard nothing from since.
So, I did a tiny experiment.
On January 31, I canceled six monthly gifts. I call this a hard cancel. I took action to stop.
- Two had the option to go into an account and cancel, and that was easy. They asked if I was sure I wanted to cancel, but that was the extent of it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to remember a password to get into my account, so that was really easy, too. I’ll be curious what they do next.
- One was through PayPal so that was relatively easy also.
- For three of them, I had to email (or call) the organization. I decided to check the email response.
- One responded right away indicating she’d cancel my monthly gift. No save attempt though. That may be coming next.
- Two of those emails went to big organizations. It’s now almost a month later, and I am still waiting. Not a peep! I am not naming names, but I’m definitely frustrated. I wanted to make it easy on myself, but now I have to pick up the phone. I’ll keep you posted on what happens next.
I recommend you take a bit of time right now to make sure that all your monthly donor cancellation processes are in place. Is someone monitoring the emails sent to the organization? Where do they go? How long does it take to turn them around?
If your organization is monthly donor focused, you should not make cancelling too hard because they’ll never ever want to come back.
If you make the process relatively easy, you’ll be much more likely to bring them back if the donor's circumstances or interests change.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. 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 authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "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 a cat, Mientje.