I was surprised to find out that a lot of organizations don't have a plan put in place for when donors wish to stop their recurring donations. Some people think that if a person wishes to cancel that their mind is already made up, but that isn't always the case.
Never view a cancellation as a failure. It can be used as a learning opportunity, don’t be afraid to ask questions to figure out why the person has canceled and what can be done better in the future.
Here is how you should approach the situation:
Start off by thanking them for supporting your organization and all the donations they made in the past. Let them know that you appreciate their contribution, no matter the size. Don’t see the cancellation as losing a supporter. How you react to their request is still a reflection of your organization and you should leave the interaction on good terms.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
When you return something to a store one of the first things they will ask is why you are making the return. If someone wishes to cancel their donation, there is clearly a reason that motivated them to do so.
Maybe they have different financial priorities, lost interest in the cause or is dissatisfied with an aspect of your organization. By asking how and then why they feel hey should cancel their donation you will only help your organization do better. Be sure you are taking notes as to why people are cancelling for future reference, if you begin to see an ongoing pattern it may be time to come up with a long-term action plan to improve the issue.
Give them Options
After figuring out the reason why, try to suggest solutions to their problems. See if it would help to lower the amount of the monthly donation, or have it be a quarterly donation instead. Maybe see if there are other ways they could be involved in your organization like helping out as a volunteer or coming to an event. When offering suggestions be as friendly as you can, make them aware of of options beyond a monthly monetary donation.
If they are unhappy with your organization, let them know that you are open to hearing them out. If you resolve the complaint made, notify them. Organizations that accept complaints have higher retention rates because it means that an organization is willing to listen and grow.
Have a Plan
The best thing to be in these kinds of situations is prepared. If you don’t already have a cancellation policy in place, make one. Take notes of why donors are cancelling their recurring gifts so you can make adjustments where needed.
Each organizations plan will be different but it should go something like this:
- Thank your donor for their contributions
- Ask them for the reason behind their cancellation
- Offer a suggestion based off of their reasoning
- If they still wish to cancel, thank them again for their support and let them know their donation has been cancelled
- Lastly, document the reason for cancelling, the options you offered to them and what was successful