Recurring contributions are a popular feature on ActBlue because they help donors contribute to the long-term stability of organizations and campaigns. With a recurring contribution, donors have the opportunity to contribute a small amount on a monthly or weekly basis, rather than a large, upfront contribution. Meanwhile, campaigns and organizations can use recurring pledges to help budget and plan for the future, and at the same time build a community of committed supporters who become a real part of their work.
Our pop-up recurring feature allows campaigns to set up a pop-up that asks donors who have just completed a one-time contribution if they’d like to make their donation recurring. It’s been a useful feature because it offers donors another action to take to support the causes they care about, and it helps campaigns, organizations, and nonprofits build a pool of recurring donors that they count on to fuel their work.
We know that all recurring programs are different, and we want the groups fundraising with our tools to have options that suit their particular program’s needs. With that in mind, our tech team built Smart Recurring, a pop-up feature similar to the original pop-up recurring tool. Smart Recurring takes a donor’s initial contribution into account and offers up a smaller monthly contribution amount that makes sense for the donor based on their original one-time donation.
So what does it look like in practice? Say you just made a $25 contribution. With Smart Recurring turned on, your contribution would go through and you would see a pop-up similar to the one below, asking you to commit to a smaller amount every month.
If you do decide to make a monthly recurring contribution, you’ll still give your original donation of $25 immediately, and starting the next month your $6 monthly recurring donation will be taken out each month on the same day.
You’ll receive a receipt with the details of the contribution and a note letting you know that a donation will be processed each month going forward.
You will also see a note indicating that the donation will recur when visiting your contribution history on ActBlue.
Overall, Smart Recurring makes the donation process more flexible by providing a great additional option for campaigns and organizations. It also takes donors into account, and recognizes that the amount someone wants to give once might not be what they’re willing to give every month. And ultimately, it helps fuel the long-term work of campaigns and organizations that donors care about.
What this means for campaigns and organizations using ActBlue:
We know that every campaign and organization’s donors respond differently, which is why we’re excited to add another recurring feature to your toolbox. Smart Recurring is great because it can help move your donors up another step on the engagement ladder while they’re already motivated to support your work. We recommend experimenting with it and seeing how it works for your program. And, like pop-up recurring, even if a donor doesn’t choose to commit to a recurring contribution, the original one-time donation still stands, so you don’t lose out on any money.
To enable Smart Recurring, just head to the Edit tab of your contribution form and choose “Use unlimited monthly contributions + smart pop-up recurring” under “Recurring Contribution options.” Right now, Smart Recurring only works for unlimited monthly contributions.
If you’d like this feature enabled on every form you’re using, you can update your default form settings. In that case, every form with default settings will have Smart Recurring enabled. You can read more about default settings here.
As with the original pop-up recurring feature, campaigns and organizations can write a customized ask for the pop-up. We recommend making it short, and talking specifically about why a recurring contribution will make a difference in your work. You can also use a gif or an image as a way to show your donors why you need their support.
It’s important to note that if a donor makes a one-time contribution of $210 or more they won’t see any pop-up asking them to make a recurring contribution on top of their initial contribution.We’ve set that as a limit, because we know that oftentimes campaigns and organizations don’t want to ask donors giving a higher amount for an additional contribution right away. With traditional pop-up recurring, you can choose your own amount threshold for the pop-up your donors see.
The chart below outlines how Smart Recurring upsell amounts correspond with one-time contribution amounts.
When you export contribution data from ActBlue there will be a column on the CSV specifying whether or not the contribution was made via Smart Recurring, and a separate column noting the amount the contribution will recur for.
If you give Smart Recurring a try, we’d love to hear from your team about how it works for you. Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.