Ellie Burke
Ellie Burke
4 min
Image of a person holding a credit card

How to Reduce Monthly Donor Attrition by 40 Percent

It happens to all of us. Your credit card information changes. You move, you cancel your account, you lose your card, you replace it due to fraud, or it simply expires.

When this happens, we endure an onslaught of messages like “your payment didn’t process” and “update your account.” Sometimes we go through the hassle of updating our accounts…and sometimes we don’t. My cell phone bill? Sure, I’ll begrudgingly go through the steps to enter my new information. That magazine subscription I don’t always read? That, I might consider and then put off long enough until I ultimately forget.

But what about a recurring donation to a nonprofit? These types of recurring payments might not be top of mind compared to services we use every day like a phone bill, or a Netflix account. When my credit card information changes and I don’t update it, my recurring revenue is lost to the nonprofit.

Nonprofit organizations, just like a for-profit, want to improve this experience for two reasons: 1) to protect their recurring revenue, and 2) to make it easier on the end user.

Luckily, you can invest in technology that catches cards that are going to expire, or need to be changed due to loss or replacement. Software such as WePay’s Autoupdate Updater tool saves both the organization and the donor from the arduous process of updating information. Here’s how:

Out With the Old

Historically, to protect your recurring revenue you’ve needed to send reminders to your donors and manually track down and update their new card information. This likely involves combing your CRM or Excel spreadsheets, and setting alarms and trigger notifications to let you know when the time comes to reach out again. A great deal of this tactic tends to be reactive, instead of proactive. You discover that a donor’s card is going to expire soon, or has already expired, and then send messages in order to prevent a further loss of income.

This approach takes a considerable amount of time and resources away from your development team. The energy spent on these individuals is, in essence, a waste. They’ve already committed to your organization—this is time you could use to engage new donors, or donors in need of further cultivation.

Image of William Harris, Product Manager, Classy

Chasing down expired credit cards is a major hassle. Any tool that allows nonprofit staff to focus on creating impact versus administration, is a win.

William Harris
Product Manager, Classy

How New Technology Reduces Recurring Giving Drop-off by 40 Percent

WePay, a preferred Classy payment processor partner, built software to mitigate such tedious work. Their technology identifies cards that will expire and automatically initiates communications with the corresponding bank to retrieve the new card information.

This prevents mutually unwanted donor attrition and eliminates heavy lifting for you and the donor.

Image of William Harris, Product Manager, Classy

Account Updater is an integrated part of a multi-pronged approach to avoid churn in donation volume. For-profit and nonprofits alike know that chasing down expiring credit cards is a major hassle. Tools like Account Updater are a great solution for a certain portion of that problem.

William Harris
Product Manager, Classy

With Account Updater, cards are updated within seven days and your development team is saved hours of valuable time. Not to mention, the technology protects your recurring revenue.

Image of Mercy for Animals, Classy client

We have seen a 40 percent reduction in monthly donor drop-off since Classy implemented Account Updater, giving us the confidence to run new programs to encourage recurring monthly donations.

Mercy for Animals
Classy client

An Ever Brighter Payment Future

Classy Pay is also developing payment features to improve recurring revenue management. These features will eventually allow organizations to accept payments the way an individual donor prefers, such as through ACH and as often as they’d like.

Such ease of use encourages monthly giving, in general, and prevents you from losing someone to a failed credit card.

Built-in recurring giving management tools help you take a proactive approach to retention. For example, you could leverage email automation to send donors a reminder to update their payment information.

Among other features, Classy Pay will provide:

  • Flexible frequencies for recurring payments
  • Recurring Profiles to empower donors to self-manage their donations
  • The ability to safely save credit card tokens for future use
  • Automatic reminders for at-risk credit cards
  • Upsell opportunities for recurring gifts

With tools like WePay’s Account Updater and, eventually, the power of Classy Pay, your organization not only protects your recurring revenue, it grows it.

Learn how Account Updater, which was implemented for all of Classy’s WePay users, reduced Mercy for Animal’s declined credit card rate by 54 percent in the case study below.

Read Next: WePay Mercy for Animals Case Study


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