I recently shared insights on when to use Recurring Donations in Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Package (NPSP). Today, I will share how to make Recurring Donations and customize them for your organization.
Sustaining donors role a major part in successful nonprofits. Recurring Donations functionality simplifies tracking them. Recurring Donations tracks multiple donations from the same donor at set intervals. Tracking occurs either for a period of time or on an ongoing basis.
Legacy Recurring Donations v. Enhanced Recurring Donations
Salesforce’s NPSP offers two types of Recurring Donations: Legacy Recurring Donations and Enhanced Recurring Donations. As a default, NPSP will have Legacy Enhanced Donations enabled.
Enhanced Recurring Donations functionality has been redesigned to be a little more intuitive and has additional useful features. The functionality works seamlessly with Salesforce’s Elevate features, which you can use for payment processing, among other things.
Upgrading and Making a Data Migration Plan
If you have a new Salesforce organization or have not used Recurring Donations, you should consider upgrading to Enhanced Recurring Donations. If you have used or are using Recurring Donations, you’ll need to do a data migration as part of the upgrade to Enhanced Recurring Donations. Make sure you have a plan in place before making that move.
Transitioning to Recurring Donations from Legacy Recurring Donations
Let’s look at the process of creating Recurring Donations if you are using Legacy Recurring Donations.
Create a new Recurring Donation either:
- From the Contact if your admin has added a New Recurring Donation button to the Contact detail page
- Or, by going to the Recurring Donation tab
There are a few ways to log the information about your Recurring Donation. Let’s say Jane Donor has agreed to give a monthly donation of $1,000 to your organization for a year. That’s great! You can log that information by inputting the Amount to be paid for each installment in the Recurring Donation’s field Amount. Then set the Schedule Type to “Multiply by.”
Salesforce will then create the 12 Opportunities. Each will have a Close Date on the first day of the month, each with an Amount of $1,000.
Now let’s say that Jimmy Giftgiver has promised to pay you $12,000 for a year in monthly installments of $1,000. Awesome! You can input the total donation amount in the Recurring Donation’s Amount field and set the Schedule Type to “Divide by.”
Salesforce will then create the 12 Opportunities, each with a Close Date of the first day of every month, each with an Amount of $1,000.
If your Recurring Donation is open-ended Recurring Donation, set Open Ended Status to “Open”; this Recurring Donation can be closed out when the Donor stops payment.
Reporting on Recurring Donations
Once you create a Recurring Donation, you can view the Total Amount Paid and the Number of Paid Installments on the Recurring Donation detail page. These rollups will recalculate daily. Or, you can press the “Recalculate Rollups” button to force these values to refresh immediately. For example, consider receiving a payment and wanting to see how that impacts your Recurring Donation right away.
You can also close the recurring donation using the “Close Recurring Donation” button. If you have indicated that open Opportunities should have their Stage updated when a Recurring Donation closes (we’ll get to that shortly), Salesforce will make that update at this time.
Customizing Recurring Donations Functionality
Recurring Donations is a very powerful tool for tracking the gifts of sustaining Donors. You can easily tweak it to make it work even better for your organization, though. To make these configuration changes, select the “NPSP Settings.” Then press on the Recurring Donations section to expand the menu.
First, you have the option to upgrade to Enhanced Donations if you haven’t already. This tab will guide you through the process of upgrading to Enhanced Recurring Donations.
You can make most of your configuration changes in the Recurring Donations tab. Let’s take a look:
With Legacy Recurring Donations, you can configure NPSP to specify and identify the following:
1. Time Range for Open-Ended Opportunities
Consider specifying the number of months of open-ended Opportunities to create. Let’s say you specify three months. If you create an ongoing monthly Recurring Donation from Jane Donor starting June 1, Salesforce will create an Opportunity for June 1, July 1, and August 1. When you close June 1 Opportunity out, Salesforce will automatically create a new Opportunity for September.
Make sure you work with your organization’s Development department to understand how they want Recurring Donations reflected in their pipeline report when determining this number.
2. Batch Size
You can also indicate batch size. Salesforce sets the default to 50. Most likely, you’ll have no reason to change this, but if you have a batch job of Recurring Donations that fails because of system limits, you can make this number smaller to ensure the job doesn’t hit those limits.
3. Closing Recurring Donations
You must also specify what should happen to open Opportunities when a donor stops giving. Remember Jane Donor’s July, August, and September Opportunities? If, in July, you find out that Jane needs to stop giving, you can close the Recurring Donation. Salesforce will take whatever action you specify on those open Opportunities. You won’t need to update them individually.
You can either:
- Mark all the Recurring Donation’s open Opportunities as Closed – Lost
- Delete those open Opportunities, or
- Tell Salesforce to take no action and handle it manually
4. Max Number of Donation Installments
You also need to determine the maximum number of donation installments for a single fixed-length Recurring Donation. The default is 50. Most likely, you’ll have no need to modify this. However, if you have a donor who wants to give a gift every day for a year, you’ll need to update this number.
Note that this number will NOT impact open-ended Recurring Donations. Even if your maximum number is 50, a long-time open-ended Donation will keep making Opportunities even after the fiftieth installment.
5. Campaign Behavior for Recurring Donations
We also recommend you indicate behavior for the Campaigns specified for Recurring Donation. You can either have Salesforce pass the Campaign to the Opportunities associated with the Recurring Donation or have Salesforce NOT pass the Campaign to the Opportunity. You’ll most likely want to leave this checked so that you can more directly tie Opportunities to Campaigns.
6. Opportunity Record Type
You can specify any Opportunity Record Type you want for Recurring Donations. However, all Opportunities Salesforce creates off of any Recurring Donations will be the selected Record Type. Salesforce does not allow you to specify different Opportunity Record Types, from Recurring Donation to Recurring Donation, without custom development. You’ll probably want to leave this as Donation unless you are using a different Opportunity Record Type to track your donations.
7. Recurring Donation Naming Format
You can indicate if you want Recurring Donation Names to be manually named or always have the name in a standard format.
Naming examples include:
- Jane Donor $1,000 – Recurring
- Jane Donor Monthly Recurring Donation $1,000
- Jane Donor $1,000 Monthly
Note that the Recurring Donation Naming format does NOT get passed down to the Opportunities that get created.
Creating Custom Installment Periods
The Recurring Donation Custom Installment Periods tab allows you to create your own Custom Installment Period. If you had a Recurring Donation that occurred every two weeks, for example, you could go here and create a new installment period.
To create the new installment period, you’ll need to specify a Name, Time Period Frequency, and Time Period Type, which can be Days, Weeks, or Years. In our example, you’d call it “Every Other Week,” input “2” for Time Period Frequency, and select “Weeks” for Time Period Type.
The Recurring Donation Custom Field Mappings tab contains a Recurring Donation Field to an Opportunity field. You will need to create a Custom Field Mapping for each field you wish to map.
Predicting Outcomes When Changing Data in Enhanced Recurring Donations
Salesforce rolled out Enhanced Recurring Donations in Summer 2022. It was redesigned to be easier to use and offer more predictability in what happens when a Recurring Donation’s data is changed.
Similar to Legacy Recurring Donations, you can create a Recurring Donation off of a Contact’s detail page if the Create Recurring Donation button has been added or off of the Recurring Donation tab.
When you create a new Recurring Donation, Salesforce prompts you to specify the Donor Type—Contact or Account. If you select Contact, you will be prompted to specify your Contact who is donating. (Salesforce sets the Donor Type to Contact and passes in the Contact whose page you are on if you create it off the Contact detail page.) If you specify Account as your Donor Type, Salesforce prompts you for an Account and a Contact.
With Enhanced Recurring Donations, you’ll always input the amount being paid at each installment for the Amount. Do NOT enter the total amount of the whole Recurring Donation.
You can specify the Recurrence Type—Open or Fixed. If it’s a fixed Recurring Donation, Salesforce will prompt you for the number of planned installments.
You can also specify the Payment Method, which will get passed to the Payments created off each of the Recurring Donation Opportunities.
When you create your Recurring Donation, Salesforce will create the first installment as an Opportunity unless you’ve configured Enhanced Recurring Donations not to do this.
In addition, Salesforce will show the Active Schedule for the Recurring Donation and the Recurring Donation’s upcoming installments on the Recurring Donation detail page.
Navigating the Recurring Donation Detail Page
The Recurring Donation Detail page also displays important statistics such as:
- Total Amount Paid
- Number of Paid Installments
- Current Year Value, representing the amount of the Recurring Donation expected to come in this year
- Next Year Value, representing the amount of the Recurring Donation expected to come in next year
You can configure NPSP to calculate these values based on your organization’s specific fiscal year.
Pausing Recurring Donations
On the Recurring Donation page, you can pause the Recurring Donation if, for example, the credit card you have on file for the Donor has expired. When you press the “Pause” button, you’ll be prompted for the Paused Reason. You can optionally designate any installments you wish to pause. Salesforce will mark those installments as paused and will not create Opportunities for paused installments.
If you have a reason to subsequently unpause the installments, you can press the Pause button again and unselect the installments you wish to unpause. Salesforce will then create the Recurring Donation’s Opportunities as it normally would.
Closing Recurring Donations
You can also close the Recurring Donation on the detail page by pressing the Close button. Salesforce will prompt you for the Status Reason why the Recurring Donation is being stopped, and End Date, when the Recurring Donation will stop.
Once you input this information, Salesforce will:
- Stop any active schedules associated with the Recurring Donation
- Remove all of the Recurring Donation’s upcoming installments
- Close any open Opportunities associated with the Recurring Donation (if that’s what you’ve configured NPSP to do when a Recurring Donation closes.)
Customizing Enhanced Recurring Donations
Just as with Legacy Recurring Donations, you can customize your Enhanced Recurring Donations. Some of the options, however, are a little bit different. To access your customization options, you’d go to the same place. Navigate to the NPSP Settings tab and expand the Recurring Donations section on the left side. Your options with Enhanced Recurring Donations are different than for Legacy Recurring Donations.
The Update to Enhanced Recurring Donations tab will show the steps you took to update and migrate. You can confirm the data migration information there. Once you’ve made the update, you won’t have much reason to go here.
On the Recurring Donations tab, many of the options are the same, but there are a few new ones, as well:
1. Batch Size
Similar to Legacy Recurring Donations, Salesforce sets the default batch size to 50. Most likely, you’ll have no reason to change this. If you have a batch job of Recurring Donations that fail because of system limits, you can make this number smaller to ensure the job doesn’t hit those limits.
2. Stopping Donations
You can also customize what happens to open Opportunities when a donor stops giving. Similar to Legacy Recurring Donations, you can indicate that when a Recurring Donation closes, Salesforce should either mark all the Recurring Donation’s open Opportunities as Closed – Lost, delete those open Opportunities or tell Salesforce to take no action and handle it manually.
3. Campaign Behavior for Recurring Donations
You can also indicate behavior for the Campaigns specified for Recurring Donation. Similar to Legacy Recurring Donations, you can either have Salesforce pass the Campaign to the Opportunities associated with the Recurring Donation or have Salesforce NOT pass the Campaign to the Opportunity. You’ll most likely want to leave this checked.
4. Automatically Scheduling Opportunity Creations for Recurring Donations
You can also specify when Salesforce should create Opportunities for a Recurring Donation’s next installment. You can indicate the platform should:
- Always create the next installment Opportunity
- Disable the creation of the first installment Opportunity on create
- Disable the creation of all installments.
Most likely, you’ll want to have it always create the next installment.
5. Enabling the Recurring Donation Log
You can activate this feature if you want to have Salesforce track changes to the Recurring Donation’s Amount, Schedule, or Campaign. Similar to Field History Tracking on other objects in Salesforce, Enhanced Recurring Donations allow users to change these values after the Recurring Donation is created. You can’t change these fields with Legacy Recurring Donations.
6. Opportunity Record Type
Similar to Legacy Recurring Donations, you can specify any Opportunity Record Type you want for Recurring Donations. However, all Opportunities you create off of Recurring Donations will have that same Record Type. Salesforce does not allow you to specify different Opportunity Record Types from Recurring Donation to Recurring Donation without custom development. You’ll want to select Donation unless you are using a different Opportunity Record Type to track your donations.
7. Exceptions to Automatic Opportunity Creation
You’ll also need to specify the number of days before or after a Recurring Donation’s Opportunity’s End Date for which Salesforce should NOT create the next Opportunity. This is pertinent to an installment if the Recurring Donation is for monthly or yearly donations.
For example, consider if this number is five. Jane Donor has a Recurring Donation with an open Opportunity with a Close Date of June 1. The next installment is scheduled for June 15. If a user updates the open Opportunity’s Close Date to June 11, Salesforce will NOT create an Opportunity for the June 15 installment.
Or, Jimmy Giftgiver has a Recuring Donation with an open Opportunity with a Close Date of June 1. The next installment is scheduled for June 15. If a user updates the open Opportunity’s Close Date to June 8, Salesforce will create an Opportunity for the June 15 installment, because it’s more than five days out from June 8.
8. Using Fiscal Year for Recurring Donation Total Values
If your organization’s fiscal year doesn’t match the calendar year, you can use this feature to ensure that your Recurring Donations will line up with your fiscal year for accounting.
9. Recurring Donation Naming Format
Similar to Legacy Recurring Donations, you can indicate if you want Recurring Donation Names to be manually named or always have the name in a standard format.
These formats could look like:
- Jane Donor $1,000 – Recurring
- Jane Donor Monthly Recurring Donation $1,000
- Jane Donor $1,000 Monthly
Status to State Mapping Tab
The Status to State mapping tab allows you to indicate the Recurring Donation State for custom Recurring Donation Status picklist values. You can map values to “Active,” “Lapsed,” or “Closed.”
The Recurring Donation Custom Field Mappings contains a tab for a Recurring Donation Field to an Opportunity field. Create a Custom Field Mapping for each field you wish to map, exactly the same as you would for Legacy Recurring Donations.
Status Automation Tab
The Status Automation tab allows you to define rules for Salesforce to a Recurring Donation Statuses automatically. You can indicate:
- The Status from among the Recurring Donation Statuses associated with the Lapsed State you’d like Salesforce to set the Recurring Donation Status to
- The number of days after which the donation isn’t received that you’d like Salesforce to update the Status to that value
You can do the same for Closed. Consider, if you select five days for the “Lapsed” Status and ten days for the “Closed” status. If Jane Donor’s open Opportunity for a Recurring Donation has a Close Date of June 1, and the payment doesn’t arrive by June 5, Salesforce will update the Recurring Donation Status to “Lapsed.” If the payment still hasn’t arrived by June 10, Salesforce will automatically update the Recurring Donation Status to “Closed.”
Customizing Your Salesforce NPSP Implementation
Salesforce’s NPSP Recurring Donations feature is a powerful tool in both its Legacy and Enhanced flavors. If you’d like to get the most out of your Salesforce NPSP implementation, we can help. Our team partners with many nonprofits for custom development on the platform. To talk with a consultant, contact us today.