Recurring Gifts represent a donor's commitment to providing regular, ongoing support for your organization. It's common to think of this specifically as applying to monthly giving, but recurring gifts can also include quarterly payments, annual support, or even bimonthly donations. Often, recurring giving involves automatic payments via a credit card or bank transfer/e-check, but a recurring donor may choose to regularly send checks instead.
Recurring gifts, especially automatic monthly donations, are increasingly popular, as they provide a steady stream of reliable revenue. However, it is important to note that a recurring gift does not represent a binding or long-term commitment from a donor. A recurring gift may end at any time (most often, they end when a donor's credit card expires) and there is no lump sum or total dollar amount committed by your donor.
Creating a Recurring Gift
Recurring Gifts are often created as part of Gift Processing. When a donor makes a new recurring gift online, via Virtuous Giving or any of our integrated giving partners, then Virtuous, by default, will show that transaction as including both a new gift and a new recurring gift. Importing these via the Gift & Contact Import tool in this way will create the new recurring gift, create the gift, and link the two, indicating that the gift in question is the first payment of an ongoing recurring donation.
Users may also opt to manually create a recurring gift when processing transactions in the Gift & Contact Import tool; simply select the "Create Recurring Gift" slider when entering a transaction.
While most recurring gifts will be created via the Gift & Contact Import tool, it is also possible to create a recurring gift directly from a Contact record. Navigate to the Giving tab on any record, and then click on the add button on the right side of the screen, right by the Recurring Gifts section. This will bring up the new recurring gift form.
On the form, select the recurring frequency for your gift and enter the recurring payment amount for the Recurring Gift Amount Amount. For example, if someone makes a monthly gift of $75 per month, select "Monthly" and enter "75" for the Pledge Amount.
Beneath the basic recurring gift information, there are three checkboxes, two of which are checked by default:
- Automated Payments: If checked, this denotes that recurring payments have been scheduled to pay via credit card, automated bank withdrawal, or some other means that does not require any action on the part of the giver. If a giver offers to send a check each month, for example, then uncheck this option.
- Track Payments: If checked, Virtuous will generate a schedule of expected future payments for this recurring gift, which can be used to track the outstanding balance and identify late or missed payments. The expected payments data is used in generating the Recurring Gift Payment and Recurring Gift Aging reports available on the Dashboard.
Select a Segment and Project for your recurring gift, and then click on "Save Recurring Gift" at the bottom of the form to add the recurring gift to your donor's record.
Clicking the "Edit" or "Preview" icon for any recurring gift will display all received payments, expected payments, and the total outstanding balance.