Streamlining payments to make charitable donations go further, faster
Last year, the charity Framework helped around 18,500 people across the East Midlands and Sheffield with issues ranging from homelessness and addiction to mental health and employment support.
Something that sets the charity apart is the way in which it goes beyond providing essential material and practical help in tackling those issues. As Caroline Hannigan, Framework’s Supporter Engagement and Database Manager – or “data queen” to her colleagues – explains: “It’s important for us to make a sustainable difference. That means empowering people to take control of living a healthier life, to make better choices across all the important areas of their lives.”
Funding for this mission requires vital public support including a mixture of regular giving, one-off donations, fundraising events and support from community groups and businesses. That means Framework must be able to reconcile any incoming funds to the specific activities and causes for which they were intended. It must also be able to acknowledge the generosity of donors promptly, accurately and appropriately. With digital a primary channel for donations, a great UX that maximises conversions is also important.
To top it all off, this must be done as efficiently as possible so as not to divert resources and funds from providing support to people in need.
Grappling with inefficient processes and rising costs
Framework had been using GoCardless with basic platform access to collect a small portion of recurring payments over the years. But with transformational aspirations and higher payment volumes, the benefit of moving to a customer contracted account with access to additional GoCardless services had the potential to solve some of their challenges.
I basically said ‘here are all our problems, what can you do about them?’ after which GoCardless came back with a series of suggestions for transforming and streamlining our payment processes.
Many of these problems related to regular giving. This vital source of recurring revenue was being held back by a donor journey that was cumbersome and often confusing (it was common for donors to mistakenly sign up for one-off donations instead of regular ones). With most donations made via PayPal or credit and debit card, many donors would also lapse when their cards expired resulting in lost revenue.
Admin was also a concern, with Caroline having to spend around two weeks every month manually reconciling donations with financial accounts, fundraising campaigns, donor records and the Gift Aid tax reclamation scheme.
But perhaps the final straw was a 3% increase in transaction fees charged by Framework’s incumbent payment processor.
Increasing recurring revenue with streamlined conversions and lower costs
Now, Framework can maximise the proportion of resources and funds dedicated to its causes while also accelerating their arrival at the point of need.
It has achieved this through positive transformations of several of the payment dimensions that make up a successful recurring revenue strategy.
Streamlining donor conversion with a simplified web experience that is 40% shorter. Following this and a host of other changes to the web experience, regular giving donations have increased by 194%. “Working with GoCardless allowed us to streamline our online donation experience from five pages to three to simplify the experience, contributing to almost tripling our conversion rate,” said Caroline.
Reducing unintentional churn among regular donors by moving payments away from cards and onto bank-to-bank payments, while increasing visibility into lapsed or at-risk donors. “Before GoCardless it was impossible to understand how often donors lapsed and how we could prevent it. But now I don't believe we have any failed payments at all,” said Caroline
Lowering costs by bringing transaction fees back down to an acceptable level. “The GoCardless transaction fees for one-off payments are 50% less than our previous provider.” That means more money to fund our support services,” said Caroline.
Establishing a growing preference among donors for paying via GoCardless, with 47.65% choosing this method. “I really hope to increase the number of customers choosing to pay through GoCardless. The more donors we can convert, the lower our fees and the quicker we can get funds to where they’re most needed,” said Caroline.
Thanks to better data and greater automation, Caroline’s time spent on monthly donation reconciliation has also been reduced from two weeks to just two days. “That's saved me a lot of time that I can now dedicate to raising more funds,” she said.
Making an instant impact with one-off payments
Its rapid success with recurring revenues meant Framework jumped at the chance to use Instant Bank Pay from GoCardless. Instant Bank Pay, powered by open banking technology, delivers a simple, convenient way to collect one-off payments without the high transaction fees of cards and the poor customer experience of bank transfers.
Because transactions move directly from account-to-account, funds are transferred faster and payment is confirmed instantly for both Framework and their donors.
It’s vital for people to know that their donation has been received and for them to be promptly and properly thanked for it. With Instant Bank Pay, we can collect one-off payments and the funds arrive within hours so we can get them to where they’re needed sooner. That enables us to build innovative donor journeys around instant gratification, which in turn drives greater rapport and stronger relationships.
Every pound now stretches further, thanks to GoCardless
Looking forward, Framework has this year launched a five year campaign to raise £3m towards the provision of 200 accommodation units with intensive support for homeless people with the greatest needs across all the areas in which it works.
GoCardless is set to make a vital contribution to the achievement of this goal, said Caroline. “The changes that GoCardless have made possible - the lower fees and more efficient processes - ensure that we can now do even more good with the money we raise. The magnifying impact of these factors means that every pound donated now will go further than it would have done a few months ago, and faster. And that’s all thanks to GoCardless.”