Blog Articles

Posted on 
January 22, 2021

Recurring Gift Programs 101

Your non-profit organization is probably already familiar with pledge programs. The idea is a simple one: promote your organization’s signature cause and request that supporters fulfill financial commitments by a specified deadline. Pledge drives are a great tool that can result in predicable giving, but they also pose limitations. Once pledges are collected and commitments satisfied, many of the participating donors withdraw their ongoing support and leave your organization in need of other sustainable giving strategies.

By contrast, recurring gift programs provide donors flexible payment options that promote sustainable, long-term giving. Rather than race to meet the demands of a temporary pledge program, donors participating in recurring giving can set up an account and specify the donation amount and frequency of giving they desire. Combined with intuitive, mobile-based technologies that encourage donor participation and retention, recurring gift programs appeal to core supporters looking for a convenient means of giving beyond the scope of a limited pledge drive.

Consider the benefits of recurring giving:

  • Easy implementation: Add a recurring gift option on donor response materials or online giving platform.
  • Higher retention rates: Donors are more likely to remain active when provided with hassle-free payment methods.
  • Predictable: Consistent, automated giving allows organizations to budget with confidence.
  • Convenient: Donors appreciate the option to commit and forget.
  • Updatable: Donors can revise their giving schedule at any time.

Technology the Multiplier

Recurring giving attains maximal effectiveness when coupled with the convenience and security of technological innovation. Recent developments in mobile-based giving platforms offer unprecedented degrees of flexibility and convenience to donors on the move. By visiting mobile giving sites optimized for their devices, donors can initiate a recurring giving schedule from their phones. These platforms accept most major credit and debit cards, as well as donations made by electronic check. Payments are then processed via secure authorization networks that minimize data theft and allow for repeat giving from the same accounts.

Another innovative technology contributes to the long-term effectiveness of recurring giving. Automatic card updating services provide convenience to both donors and receiving organizations by electronically transmitting updated cardholder information to card processing centers as needed. This allows organizations to continue to use the card on file even when crucial card data has changed due to a cardholder change of address or recent renewal. Once a major disruption to recurring giving, account revisions are now handled automatically and permit uninterrupted use.

While pledge drives can serve as an occasional giving stimulus, non-profit organizations should focus their recruitment efforts on increasing recurring giving enrollment. When integrated successfully with mobile and web-based giving platforms, recurring giving provides convenience to donors and predicable results to organizations.