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Recycling Cash: Automatic Recurring Gifts And ETapestry

The Customer Success Team has focused recently on getting information to eTapestry users covering how you can Operate More Efficiently with your database solution.  After all, this is a major tent pole of how Blackbaud wants to help you succeed with your fundraising efforts and donor retention.  Up to this point, we've discussed a some reports to help retain donors and some queries that can help you track and analyze information about your donors habits and various trends.

This time around, I want to discuss with you two ways you or your donors can set up recurring donations.  Recurring donations are incredibly helpful to not only retain donors month over month, or at the very least year over year,  They can also help you budget for events or other upcoming needs your organization may have in terms of staff or building needs or just general operating costs.  Plus, auto processing donations are about as easy as can be.  They require little relationship management prior to the donation being made, and practically no cost to raise those funds.  In other words, they are donations that practically manage themselves!

Let's start with the scenario, shall we?  Let's say your organization has a donor call and say, "I'd like to make a donation on a monthly basis.  Can I give you my credit card number, can you make sure it gets charged every month?"  With eTapestry, not only is this possible, but it is very easy to set up!

To start, though, you do need to make sure you have a credit card processor set up and connected to your eTapestry database.  We recommend using Blackbaud Merchant Services.  That's an in-house processor that works not only with our Blackbaud products, but if you do decide to move to another Blackbaud Product, you can easily transfer it from eTapestry to that other solution with little to no additional work other than to plug in your BBMS credentials.  To learn more about setting up a BBMS account and how to connect it to your eTapestry database, you can check out this resource HERE.


Setting up an auto processing recurring gift schedule inside eTapestry:
To create a recurring gift schedule from inside eTapestry, go to the account that you wish to create the schedule for and click Journal in the Account Header:
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Next, click the Add button.
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This will bring up the Add Journal Entry window where you will find Recurring Gift Schedule.
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Like any other gift entry, fill out the Basic Information that will carry forward to EACH of the recurring gifts.
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On the right of the page, you will find the Schedule Information panel is open and allows for you to choose whether you want it to be a Manual schedule or Auto.  For our needs here, you will want to choose Auto.  This will also allow for you to choose the First Installment Date and the Frequency..
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When you choose Auto, you will now be able to enter Credit/Debit Card info in the Gift Types section above where you set up the Schedule Information.
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Based on the Frequency and the First Installment Date, the recurring gift schedule will process each and every month.  If you find a schedule is starting to decline due to the card expiring, etc., you can make edits to the schedule's processing as needed.  You can even stop a recurring gift schedule if the donor requests to no longer be charged.


Creating an Online Donation Form that allows Recurring Gifts:
Not only can you create an auto recurring gift schedule inside eTapestry, but donors can also set up a recurring gift schedule through your online DIY Form.  Something to remember, though, is that the option to create a recurring gift can only be placed on Online Donation Forms.  This is not available for the other types of forms that can be created.  If you need some additional resources about how to set up an online donation form, you can find a handy Resource right HERE in the Community!

To add the recurring gift option to a form, you will find this in the Gift Information section of the Edit screen.
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Then it will appear on the DIY Form like this so a donor can choose whether or not they wish to donate once, or monthly, quarterly, etc.
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We hope this entry helps you take advantage of this extremely helpful tool inside eTapestry that can help you recycle incoming donations each and every month.  Look for additional resources coming soon from the Customer Success Team that will lead you to info on Community, various other resources available throughout Blackbaud University or help documents, as well as invitations for future live online User Groups!
Posted by Geoff Arbuckle on May 29, 2019 12:54 PM America/New_York

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