Best practices: Communicating with recurring donors

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It's wonderful to receive recurring gifts from donors, but it's important to make sure recurring donors understand what they've signed up for and how to cancel their recurring donation if they so choose. These steps are not only a best practice; they are also required by some credit card issuers. 

If you're looking for an overall guide to managing recurring gifts through LGL Forms, see this help article Forms: Create and manage recurring gifts.

Always send confirmation emails

For all donations, it's important to send a confirmation email. If the donation is a recurring donation, include the recurring schedule and recurring amount in the confirmation email. Also include instructions on how to cancel the recurring donation (see more on that in #3 below). If you offer the option for donors to set an end date on their recurring donation, then you will want to include that end date in your confirmation email as well.

For help on setting confirmation options, please see this help article: Define your form’s confirmation options

To send different messages in your initial confirmation email to recurring donors versus one-time donors, you will need to use conditional logic. Here's a quick code snippet to help get you started:

{% if is_recurring == 'Yes' %}
Your message for recurring donors goes here.
{% else %}
Your message for one-time donors goes here.
{% endif %}

For more details on using conditional text in confirmations, see Creating a conditional confirmation page or confirmation email for your LGL form

Turn on recurring confirmation emails

On the Confirmation page for your form, turn on the recurring email option. Again, include the amount, the schedule, and instructions on how to cancel. Note that recurring confirmation emails will go to all recurring donors; it is not possible for individual donors to opt out of these emails. 

Create a cancellation form

You can create a generic cancellation form so that recurring donors have a location online where they can cancel their donation. This will not be an automatic process, however. The form mapping should be set to create a task in your LGL account so that you or someone on your team (whoever the task is assigned to) will remember to take the necessary steps to cancel the recurring donation. You should also set up an internal notification so that the appropriate staff at your organization are notified via email as soon as a cancellation submission occurs.

For one example of what a form like this could look like, see this demo page.

Remind semi-annual and annual donors when a charge is coming up

Notify customers who are on a semi-annual or annual recurring schedule in advance that their donation will be charged. There is no automated way to do this, but you can download the full recurring donation report from your LGL Forms account to identify annual donors. You can create an email template in your LGL account (see how) and use that to send emails to the necessary recipients as they approach their annual recurring donation dates. Mastercard wants these sent between 7 and 30 days prior to the charge occurring.

You can download a list of your active recurring donations from your LGL Forms account in Donations/Payments > Recurring > Scheduled recurring. On that page, click the blue Download active only button. In that report, you can see which donors are set up with semi-annual and annual recurring donations.