4 Ways to Handle One-Time and Recurring Gifts

As a nonprofit, your donor base is likely made up of a mix of one-time and recurring donors.


While our goal as charities is almost always to transition those one-time donors into repeat givers, lump-sum donations remain a valuable source of revenue.

Managing either, though, can be a headache.

To help you out, we’ve listed four challenges nonprofits frequently face, and we’re offering up some simple solutions you can use to make life a little bit easier.

Managing customer expectations

Often, in customer relationship management, instant gratification is the name of the game.

When a donor gives a one-time gift, they likely want a receipt right away.  It is your responsibility as an organization to populate this gift receipt template with the right information, as well as issue it. If you receive an influx of one-time donations or don’t have the capacity to ensure receipts are issued correctly, it can likely overwhelm your team.

Luckily, donors who give recurring gifts receive a consolidated receipt at the end of the year. That means you and your team need to keep track of all their donations and issue an accurate consolidated receipt before the start of tax season. It is important that you issue accurate tax receipts and manage customer expectations at the same time. 

Managing cardholder data

Your donors trust you with their financial information, and regulatory bodies are watching to make sure you deserve that trust.

In 2006, JCB International, Visa Inc., Mastercard, American Express and Discover formed the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC).  The PCI SSC developed a Data Security Standard (DSS) that every organization and its payment hardware must meet to process its customers’ (or donors’) payment cards.

Your charity may fall into one of four merchant levels depending on your organization’s number of card-based annual transactions. As your number of transactions increases, so does the PCI SSC’s level of scrutiny. To maintain your Merchant Status, you’ll need to pass PCI DSS’s annual assessments and quarterly evaluations.

Managing communication

In its National Awareness, Attitudes and Usage Study, IMPACTS Research found that the primary reason donors stop supporting an organization is that their recurring gift wasn’t acknowledged.  

The second most common reason? Nobody asked them to keep donating.

We know that donor retention is heavily-driven by a sense of personal relationship. Stories about a charity’s positive impact on an individual drive more donations than statistics about the number of individuals a nonprofit has helped.

In his book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die,” Stanford University professor Dr. Chip Heath wrote that 63 per cent of people remember personal stories, whereas only 5 per cent remember statistics about the same subject.

To maintain our organizations’ relationships with recurring donors, we must make them feel like they’re a part of our story.

Managing donor profiles

Life happens, and we adapt.

Inevitably, your recurring donors’ billing information will change, corrupting your organization’s data integrity. Often, the issue goes unnoticed until an employee or volunteer spots a missing scheduled gift. Then, it’s up to your organization to track down the donor and ask for updated financial information.

Alternatively, a donor may simply wish to alter their gift’s structure. IMPACTS’ Research determined that three of the top 10 reasons donors choose to stop giving could have been solved by restructuring a donor’s gift.

Four Problems. One Solution.

1. Managing Customer Expectations
  • Causeview Receipts takes the stress away from issuing timely accurate tax receipts. It includes functionality that allows your organization to consolidate any donors gifts, sent over any period, with a few clicks of your mouse. The software comes pre-integrated with a partner service that verifies the accuracy of your one-time donors’ information.
2. Managing Cardholder Data
  • Causeview is already PCI SSC-certified.  It’s reliable, secure and has earned the trust of thousands.
3. Managing Communication
  • Causeview is fully-customizable. Write a note to your donor. When they send a gift, the message will be automatically attached to their receipt.
4. Managing Donor Profiles
  • Causeview’s expertly-trained staff manually monitor your donors’ billing information. If there’s an inconsistency, they’ll reach out to you and fix it before it becomes an issue.

Click Here to learn how Causeview can help you manage your donors’ gifts