What Is Your Monthly Giving Soft Cancel Process?
When I was reviewing my monthly gifts for the year, I realized that I hadn’t given monthly to several organizations since May.
I call this a soft cancel. I didn’t mean to stop giving monthly, and I didn’t take action to stop.
I had received a new card at the time, but things were very busy, I simply didn’t take the time to sit down and contact the organizations. Of course, part of me also wanted to see what happened. Sadly, in many cases, nothing happened.
What was interesting, while I had been receiving monthly receipts from the giving platforms before, there was no communication from those platforms whatsoever after my card didn’t process.
What was especially interesting is that these were also different platforms, and some charge a substantial amount monthly to make life easier on the nonprofit (and donors).
I reached out to the organizations and asked them what happened.
In one case, the system had sent a note to the organization’s admin person, but she didn’t realize she had to do something. Never even questioned it. And the organization doesn’t have many monthly donors (yet), so it shouldn’t be that hard to keep track of.
In another case, because of a system transition, a note was sent to an organization’s admin person, but that, too, fell through the cracks. The development director is now getting them and able to follow up.
In another case, the organization thought the system was sending follow-up reminders to the donor when it wasn’t doing so. They apologized, and they did include me in monthly donor appeals earlier this year, so at least they’re trying to bring me back. But by not checking their system, they missed out on many monthly donations!
So do yourself a favor, if you’re serious about growing your monthly donor program, write down what happens when a card doesn’t process. Assign someone to be responsible for following up right away.
Look at your giving platform, and make sure you know what happens when and how soon after a card doesn’t process. Annualize the value of monthly gifts at risk.
Then have your "Monthly Donor Retention Playbook" handy to act right away. Writing down your process doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it’s time extremely well spent.
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.