Successfully Transitioning Recurring Donors


Nonprofits are increasingly finding themselves in a position where they must transition from one recurring donor processor to another, driven by a need for better functionality. This shift can be daunting, particularly given the potential risk of losing recurring donors if not managed correctly. However, with careful planning and a positive approach, this transition can be an opportunity to strengthen your donor relationships and enhance your fundraising capabilities.

Understanding the Landscape of Transition

Transitioning your donor database or payment platform is more common than you might think. One thing is clear: while transitioning one-time gifts is straightforward, moving recurring gifts requires careful attention to detail. The stakes are high, with potential donor loss rates cited as high as 20-30%. However, with the right strategy, you can minimize these losses and possibly even come out stronger.

Preparing for the Transition

  1. Know Your Donation Data is Yours: Ensure that your current platform will cooperate in transferring all necessary data, including credit/debit card information, payment dates, amounts, and frequencies. This step is crucial to maintaining continuity in your recurring donations.
  2. Do the Right Thing with Your Donors’ Data: Secure handling of donor information is paramount. Donors trust you with their financial details, and it’s your responsibility to ensure this data is transferred safely and accurately.
  3. Map Out Your Recurring Gifts: Understand how your recurring gifts are currently processed. Identify the sources and mechanisms, including any third-party processors like Stripe or PayPal, to ensure you have a complete picture of your donation landscape.
  4. Evaluate the Necessity of Transitioning: Before making a move, critically assess whether a new platform is essential. Sometimes the allure of new features can overshadow the practicalities. If your current platform is meeting your needs, weigh the benefits and potential disruptions carefully.
  5. Allow Adequate Time for Transition: Rushing the process increases the risk of errors and donor loss. Ideally, run both systems in parallel temporarily to ensure a seamless transition. This approach helps to identify and address issues without compromising donor contributions.

Engaging Your Donors in the Transition

  1. Proactively Communicate with Donors: If a manual opt-in is necessary (usually when there’s less than 25 donors to migrate), communicate this to your donors early and clearly. Explain the benefits of the new system and reassure them of the improved security and functionality. Multiple touchpoints—emails, phone calls, and letters—may be needed to secure their participation.
  2. Reactivation Campaigns: Use this transition as an opportunity to reconnect with lapsed donors. A well-crafted campaign can reactivate those whose payments have stopped, strengthening your donor base.
  3. Handle Declined Payments with Care: Recognize that declined payments are often due to banking issues rather than donor intent. A proactive approach to resolving these declines can prevent unnecessary donor attrition. Make sure to create automations around this. 

Embracing the Opportunity

While transitioning recurring donors to a new platform can be complex, it’s also a chance to enhance your organization’s efficiency and deepen donor relationships. By approaching the transition with a strategic plan, clear communication, and a focus on donor retention, you can navigate this change successfully. The key lies in viewing the transition not as a hurdle, but as an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to your donors and your mission.

Embrace the journey, plan meticulously, and keep the lines of communication open. Your recurring donors are invaluable partners in your mission, and with the right approach, they will continue to support your cause through and beyond the transition.

How Engaging Networks Can Help

Migrating recurring donors to a new platform can be an overwhelming task, but Engaging Networks is well-equipped to facilitate this process seamlessly. 

Recurring donors are among the most valuable assets for any nonprofit. Engaging Networks prioritizes the smooth transition of these donors, ensuring that their recurring donations continue without interruption. 

This process is typically part of the onboarding phase and is facilitated by an Engaging Networks Account Success Manager and a Client Support Specialist, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition.

Please ensure you discuss timelines with your Account Success Manager assigned to onboarding to ensure the timing is such that no transactions will be missed as part of the migration. 

By choosing Engaging Networks, you can transition your recurring donors with confidence, knowing that you have a robust system and dedicated support team to back you up. 

This transition is not just a logistical change; it’s an opportunity to enhance your donor management and strengthen your fundraising efforts.

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