Basic Recommendations:
  • Use Donation Campaigns for all new gifts. If you still have Donation Classic for existing gifts, there is no way to move them but all gifts created going forward should be done through Donation Campaigns. Donation Classic is being retired and no further resources will be put into this module.
  • Use the Failed Sustaining Payment Notification autoresponder on any form that has recurring gifts as an option. Having this autoresponder turned on for any form you have with recurring gifts ensures that your donors are notified every cycle (every month if the gift is monthly, every year if the gift is yearly, etc.) if their gift fails.
  • Configure a site wide Failed Sustaining Payment Notification in the Autoresponder Center. This will give you the option in every donation form to set this autoresponder to Revert to Site Default Version so that you don't have to configure each one by hand. You can still configure any one of them by hand but you no longer have to.
  • In all Failed Sustaining Payment Notification autoresponders include a link to the Service Center.
  • Turn on the Service Center for every donation form that has recurring gifts as an option. Instructions can be found here. This is time consuming but with the combination of the Failed Sustaining Payment Notification and the Service Center, your donors will be automatically alerted that their gift declined and they will have an option to fix it.
Advanced Recommendations (contact support to have these turned on) - more information here:
  • Set PROCESS_EXPIRED_CARDS to TRUE. Donors don't always expect of their recurring gifts to start failing if they get a new card where the only change is an expiration date. Some banks will still process the cards.
  • Set EXP_DATE_MODIFICATIONS to 1, 2. If Luminate Online sees a gift with an expired card and this setting is configured, it will first try the same card with an expiration date + 1 year. Then it will try the same card with + 2 years. Two attempts will not usually trigger any fraud protections and most debit cards are on a two year cycle. If the system succeeds with either the +1 year or +2 year, it will store the new expiration date and use it going forward.
  • Set ATTEMPTS_PER_PAYMENT to 2 + set DAYS_BETWEEN_ATTEMPTS to 2. This is separate from the expiration date settings above. If this setting is configured for 2 attempts with 2 days between, it will give your donors time between the gifts to respond to that Failed Sustaining Payment Notification autoresponder and update their gift in the Service Center. So for example, Jane's gift fails on Monday and she gets the Failed Sustaining Payment Notification. Tuesday she clicks on the link in the autoresponder and goes to the Service Center and updates her credit card. Then on Wednesday (2 days after the failure) the system tries again with the new card and succeeds.
  •  Set PLEDGE_MAX_FAILURES to 3. This will cancel any recurring gift that fails for more than 3 cycles (3 months if it is a monthly gift, 3 years if it is a yearly gift, etc.). Note that if you have set ATTEMPTS_PER_PAYMENT to 2 and set DAYS_BETWEEN_ATTEMPTS to 2 that will mean that the attempt happens 6 times in 3 cycles (usually 3 months). Most gifts that fail after 3 cycles are not going to be revived. This is doubly true if you have given the sustainer ample opportunity to update their gift by implementing the Failed Sustaining Payment Notification and the Service Center.
If you have aging recurring gifts where many of them have been failing for some time, you may want to first turn on PLEDGE_MAX_FAILURES. Then wait your standard cycle (if most gifts are monthly, a month) to clean out the backlog of failing gifts. Once that is done, then you can implement some or all of the above recommendations without concern that donors will be upset when their old, failing gifts start sending them autoresponders and/or working again (with say a new expiration date in the system).