How to enable and manage recurring plans

Accept and manage monthly, quarterly, and annual payments

Sunny avatar
Written by Sunny
Updated over a week ago

Recurring plans allow you to collect consistent donations from your supporters on a pre-selected schedule. Recurring donations are a great way to encourage a long-term commitment to your organization or collect membership dues on a monthly, quarterly, or annual schedule. Donors have the flexibility to change their contributions at any time.

Donors can submit recurring donations via credit/debit card, ACH, or PayPal. Other payment methods are available for one-time transactions only.

How it works 🔎

  • Give your donors the option to choose from one-time, monthly, quarterly, or annual donation frequencies. These options are configured for each campaign individually.

  • Recurring donors will receive emailed receipts for every subsequent charge, with a link to edit their recurring plan.

  • Admins can view and manage recurring donations in the Recurring Plans tab in the dashboard at any time.

  • Recurring donations are compatible with all payment methods except digital wallets and Venmo.

  • Any fees or tips that donors choose to cover on their initial gift will also be included on their subsequent recurring gifts. They can change their fee and tip settings anytime by managing their recurring donation.

See our recurring plan feature in action by going through the donation flow on our demo campaign!

Enable recurring plans ➕

To accept recurring donations, you'll need to enable them at the account level first.

  • Navigate to Account in the left-hand menu bar and then Settings.

  • Under the General header, toggle on Recurring Donations and click Save.

enable recurring plans

Once enabled for your account, recurring donations will be added as a configurable option to all of the campaigns on your account.

Recurring donations are automatically enabled for verified nonprofit accounts.

Configuration and settings ⚙️

Recurring plan frequencies are configurable at the campaign level, so you can accept monthly plans on one campaign, and yearly plans on another – campaigns can still be edited independently.

  • Navigate to the Tools tab of any campaign to manage or disable the ability to accept Recurring Plans.

  • Choose which frequencies you'd like to accept on this campaign.

  • You can also set a default frequency.

The type of default you set will depend on the nature of your campaign, but please be mindful when setting a recurring plan frequency as the default. If it may suit your supporters better, you can also create a separate campaign specific to monthly giving, for example.

  • Don't forget to click Save!

recurring plans toggle per campaign

Managing recurring plans 🧮

  • Navigate to the Track tab in the left side panel of your dashboard and click on Recurring Plans.

  • As an account admin or editor, you can cancel a recurring plan on behalf of a donor by clicking [...], then Cancel Plan. You can also filter and sort your existing recurring plans using the filter options at the top of the page, as well as export your data.

edit using three dots

Admins and editors cannot edit payment details, amount, or frequency of a recurring plan on behalf of a donor.

Donors can edit and manage their recurring plans from the link in any recurring plan receipt or from their user profile if they have connected one. They can also update their payment method.

Plan statuses 🚦

Active – The plan is active and will be charged again at the specified next billing date.

Paused temporarily – The plan has been paused by the donor temporarily.

Canceled – The donor or an admin canceled the plan. Hover over the status to see the date and reason for the cancelation. An email update is sent to the admin, notifying them of the cancellation.

reason for plan cancelation

Past due – The plan attempted to charge but was not successful. If a donor's recurring plan fails, an email is sent to the admin and the donor (see below). Givebutter will reattempt the charge three times, at 48-hour increments. If the charge is unsuccessful after three attempts (ie. the next bill date was over a week ago), the plan is no longer manageable by the donor, and they will need to create a new recurring plan.

plan failure email notification


How do I disable recurring plans on my account?

To disable recurring plans on your account, you'll need to refer to the steps for enabling recurring plans, but instead of toggling this option on, you need to toggle it off.

If I disable recurring plans, will it affect or cancel my existing recurring plans? What happens if I close a campaign with recurring donors?

If you disable recurring plans or close a campaign with existing recurring donors, all recurring plans will continue as normal, and funds will continue to go towards that campaign. A recurring plan will only be canceled if the admin or donor cancels it manually. New donors will not be able to create recurring plans on a closed campaign or has had recurring plans removed.

Are weekly frequencies an option?

Not currently! Please see the feature request and add a vote if you would like to see weekly plans added as a frequency option.

When are monthly and quarterly plans charged?

Monthly and quarterly plans are not charged at exactly 30 or 90-day intervals. Monthly plans will be charged every month (without overflowing to the next month if the donation was originally submitted on the 31st). Likewise, quarterly plans are charged every three months (without overflowing to the next month if the donation was originally submitted on the 31st).

If a donor cancels their recurring plan, will admins be notified?

Yes! If a plan is canceled for any reason (by an admin or the donor), admins will be sent an email notification.

plan cancellation

Will donors be notified if their credit card is going to expire?

Yes – Givebutter will email recurring donors if the card on file for their recurring plan is set to expire before the next donation is processed. This email is sent from [email protected], with the subject line: "Action Required: Your payment method will expire before your next donation."

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