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Move Your Recurring Donors to Classy in 4 Steps


By Ellie Burke

moving recurring donors

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Published June 14, 2017 Reading Time: 4 minutes

Moving your recurring donors from your previous platform to Classy can seem like a challenge. While the risk of losing donations can be frightening, the gains from the switch vastly outweigh any potential loss.

In fact, when you switch platforms, it’s a perfect opportunity to rebrand your existing recurring giving program, reengage this group of supporters, and even acquire greater levels of support.

When rolled out in four phases, the platform switch can actually strengthen your relationships and position your program to grow and scale. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Phase 0: Create Your Relaunch Plan

To move all recurring donors over to Classy in the most effective manner possible, it’s important to first develop a strategic plan.

Within this plan, define what your outreach will look like, and the timeline in which you will move through the transition phases. This is when you’ll answer questions like,

  • When do we want to complete this project by?
  • Who will we reach out to first?
  • What creative tactics will we employ to switch donors over?

How you segment your outreach will inform who you reach out to in each phase of the transition. One best practice is to organize your supporters by the dates their credit cards expire. Another option is to organize your donors by gift size, and adapt your messaging according to the level of their support and the quality of your relationship.

These considerations will help you create an intentional plan with targeted messaging that ensures your donors will have a positive experience. While your primary goal is to move your supporters from one platform to another, your secondary goal is to use this outreach as an opportunity to strengthen your relationships. Consider how this touch point can serve as a piece within a larger narrative, versus a one-off administrative message.

Phase 1: Move Active Recurring Donors Set to Expire in the Next 30 to 60 Days

To complete this phase, send an email to this group of recurring donors and let them know that their card is about to expire. Ask them to enter their most up-to-date information through your brand new campaign or updated recurring giving donation page on Classy.

Pro Tip
Classy makes it seamless to migrate donors from your existing platform. Learn about these migration opportunities and more.

This message is also an opportunity to upgrade donors’ gift amounts. Thank them for their continued support and ask if they might consider increasing their donation by a certain amount. Be sure to demonstrate what that additional support would mean to your organization in terms of impact.

You can also use this outreach as an opportunity to be transparent and further develop your brand’s voice. If it falls in line with your style, be straight up. Tell your recurring donors why you’re updating your recurring giving program, what you need from them to help it succeed, and outline the benefits both your supporters and beneficiaries will receive from the change.

Phase 2: Reach Out to Your Recurring Donor All-Stars

While their credit cards might not be set to expire anytime soon, the next group you contact can be your “all-stars.” To assess which recurring donors you have stronger relationships with, segment your list by the length of your relationship, donation amount, or by how often they open your messages.

Offer a Benefit

If you decide to sort your donors by length of relationship, you could refer to this group as your “founding members,” and let them know that they’re getting the “in” on your new program first. Using an email campaign or phone calls (depending on how high-touch you want to be with this group), thank them for their longtime support and let them know they need to set up a new page to start receiving new program benefits.

Consider what you might provide monthly donors to make them feel even more like they are a part of your team. Exclusive content? Specific impact updates? Branded swag? Position the transfer and relaunch as a way of saying thanks to increase the chance donors will engage.

Phase 3: Reach Out to Donors You Don’t Know as Well

After you’ve reached out to your all-stars, it’s time to reach out to your recurring donors with whom you don’t have quite as much history, or as strong of a relationship.

Again, you’ll base the method of your communication (phone or email) on how high-touch you’d like to be—or can afford to be—with this group of supporters.

Introduce your new program and acknowledge the work your supporters helped make possible thus far. As with the previous groups, let them know how your new program is improving, and why that’s ultimately a great thing for both them and your beneficiaries.

One creative way to reach out to this specific group is to let your supporters know you’d like to take the opportunity to learn more about them. Ask them to create a new profile and tell them the information is being used to better serve them as valuable members of your community.

While this transition typically spans over the course of a year, when the project is complete, your organization will have stronger and more valuable relationships. Not to mention, a new standard for establishing long-time support.

At the end of the day, you know your supporters best. If you think transparent messaging would resonate, let them know about your recent change in platform and how it will benefit the entire organization. Your message is more likely to resonate when your supporter understands how their gift impacts your organization and cause. This outreach is an opportunity to solidify that and ensure your ask feels urgent and necessary to complete.

Keep Supporters Engaged

Keep Supporters Engaged

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