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Upgrading your Direct Debits Online

About ten years ago I was asked why any not-for-profit organisation would use Direct Debits in favour of Standing Orders for attracting new regular supporters – let alone think about the nightmare of migrating existing Standing Orders to Direct Debits!

Needless to say, that was a long time ago and the developments in processing, flexibility and safe guards have seen the popularity of Direct Debits increase significantly for charities and the donor. Direct Debits are now the preferred regular giving choice in the Third Sector.

The most obvious benefit for the organisation is same date collection and single line reporting, i.e. you know the date you are expecting to receive payments and therefore you can see in a simple collections report the amount that has been received and direct debits that have not been paid, and take action accordingly. In contrast, collections via Standing Order allow payments to be made on multiple dates throughout the month and reconciliation is a time consuming, laborious process open to error.

But there are other significant benefits of using direct debit collections that are not always exploited.

One of the simplest but most effective functions is the ability to change or upgrade Direct Debit amounts quickly and easily. For some years now many charities have experienced fantastic upgrade conversion rates through telephone fundraising and membership programmes – the ability to inform members that their renewal fee will be increased automatically makes it easier for everyone.

More interesting for me is that the function for easily changing the direct debit amount can be available to the donor, if you choose. Rapidata has developed the ability for existing Direct Debit payers to increase (or decrease) their Direct Debit online in a few simple steps. It encourages those that cannot meet your usual ask levels to give what they can afford rather than just walk away, plus it enables those that want to give more, a lot more, or a specific amount. Giving the donor control of their giving and showing your trust and belief in them can pay dividends in income and loyalty over the long term.

Check out some of the options I’ve listed below to see if you can incorporate these options into your own direct debit fundraising.

A few ideas:

  • Empower your supporters – include an option on your donation page enabling supporters to change their Direct Debit amount when they want to.
  • Use a memorable URL for your upgrade site and mention it in all your correspondence to supporters. This will make it easier for your supporters to find your regular giving page and manage their giving levels.
  • Make donors aware that they can change their DD amount. If your supporters are experiencing a difficult time financially you may find they decrease their donation value rather than cancelling their DD Instruction. Or if they come into a wind fall they may consider giving more if they know they have the control to increase and decrease their donation amount when it’s convenient for them.
  • Setup an email campaign to inform supporters that they have this level of control and ask them to think about giving at least £1 more per month.
  • After a telephone upgrade campaign send a letter or email to all the donors you were unable to contact with link to your upgrade site.

We originally developed this module of eDirectDebit for use in e-marketing campaigns, either prompting the supporter to ‘press here to increase by £1’ or by giving an option for the payer to choose how much more to give per month. However, the system lends itself to far more than just email campaigns and translates across all your online fundraising.

To view our Upgrade demo site click below:

If you are already benefiting from eDirectDebit for acquiring new, and reactivating, Direct Debits, why not consider how you can use your online functionality for upgrade campaigns. I am sure there are many more ways of using this service to increase revenue and life time value of a supporter and I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the above.

If you have a seed of an idea give us a call and we’ll try to help you make it happen!

If you would like to setup the eDirectDebit upgrade module, please contact us on
01293 524066 or email support@rapidata.co.uk

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Posted by Scott Gray on 06/08/2010 within Direct Debit
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