The 4aGoodCause Blog

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Keep your monthly donors with Account Updater

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At 4aGoodCause, we may talk a lot about donor retention, but it’s because we know donor retention is an important aspect of running a successful nonprofit and we know keeping your donors can be difficult. After all, data has shown a quite a few negative statistics about donor retention:

  • For every $100 given by new donors, $92 is lost to donors not retained.
  • For every 100 donors gained by nonprofits, 102 are lost from the year prior.
  • In 2014 the overall donor retention rate for nonprofits was 43% and that number hasn’t risen by much in recent years (46% in 2015), even though the number of donators has increased.
  • It can cost nonprofits 7 times more to find a new donor than it does to keep an existing one.

The problem

Recurring monthly donors can be difficult to retain. A common problem in retaining monthly donors is having up-to-date card information for donors. Cards expire and cards get reissued with new numbers for many reasons such as recent data breaches at large retailers or issuance of new EMV “chip” cards.

Unfortunately, this often leads to interruption in donation processing and failed transactions. Nonprofits must reach out to donors individually to acquire new card information. Along the way, donors can decide to quit giving. One way to avoid this issue is to use a service offered by many payment gateways or credit card processors — Account Updater.

The solution

Account Updater keeps your donor’s card data updated by checking with Visa and MasterCard once every month to make sure the information you have on file is up-to-date. If any card information (such as card numbers or expiration dates) has been updated, Account Updater will quickly and securely change the information stored in your donor profiles to the correct version. You should see about 20-35% of cards update in your first month of using Account Updater, with about 7-8% each month after.

This is a positive for donor retention because it means…

  • Less declined transactions with current card information (more revenue for your nonprofit)
  • Reduced costs with automatic updates rather than time spent manually reaching out to donors
  • Less cancellations as donor giving is not interrupted by card errors

Unfortunately, Account Updater services are not always compatible with American Express or Discover credit cards. Be sure to not entirely eliminate procedures you have in place to monitor for expiring cards or failed transactions.

Next step

Ask your fundraising platform or payment processor if Account Updater is an available feature. If so, sign up. It will save you time and help you raise more money for your good cause. Look for payment plans that only charge you as updates to cards are made, rather than a set monthly or yearly fee.

Any nonprofit using 4aGoodCause can easily acquire Account Updater through their payment gateway, Authorize.net.

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Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Since founding 4aGoodCause in 1998, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves - building software that makes a difference in the world. For almost 20 years, Ronald and the 4aGoodCause online fundraising platform have helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofits from Maine to Hawaii. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @4aGC.

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