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How to Automate and Recapture Canceled Donations


Monthly donations on ActBlue are an excellent addition to any Finance Program. As a Fundraiser, your job is to solicit & encourage donors to give regularly and ask them to maintain their commitment whenever they cancel it on ActBlue.


Reengaging donors who canceled their donations is known as a recapture strategy. The DNC found that having a consistent recapture strategy led to a post-election cancelation rate of 8% compared to their typical 15% drop-off.


Typically, what that looks like is a manual download of canceled contributions followed up by outreach (email, text, phone call) from you asking them to reinstate their contribution.



Manual downloads & tracking take away valuable staff time that could be spent on raising funds elsewhere. This whole process can be automated.


Zapier is a powerful tool that allows any person (or Fundraiser) to set up automations for their workflow. You can signup for a free trial here: https://zapier.com/page/welcome-start/


You can use Zapier to automatically send an email from your candidate to a donor when they cancel their monthly recurring contribution. You can also cc the appropriate staff member, so they know to call that donor.


Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use Zapier to automate your recurring recapture strategy.

Zapier:

  1. Create a new Zap.

  2. For your trigger, use "Webhooks by Zapier".

  3. For the trigger event, select "Catch hook".

  4. Copy the custom Webhook URL and hit continue (You can ignore the silent mode and "pick off a child key").

ActBlue WebHook:

  1. Log in to your ActBlue Account.

  2. Go to Webhook Integrations in the Tools section.

  3. Click on the green "Request a New Webhook" box.

  4. For type select "ActBlue Cancellations Default".

  5. Paste your Zapier Webhook link into the endpoint URL.

  6. Create a credentials log in (this won't matter for this).

  7. Submit your request and wait up to 24 hours for ActBlue support to approve the webhook.

  8. Once approved, make a $1 monthly donation to your candidate and then cancel it. (You won't be able to test the webhook trigger without a canceled donation that has occurred since the webhook was approved).

Google Sheets:

  1. In your respective google drive, create a new google spreadsheet that can be used to track recurring cancelations.

  2. Add the following columns to your sheet: First Name, Last Name, Contribution Page, Amount, Date, Recurrence #, Address, City, State, ZIP, Email, Phone Number, Occupation, and Employer.

Gmail:

  1. In the candidate's Gmail account, create a new label "ActBlue Cancelation Followups".

Zapier:

  1. Test the Webhook trigger and your canceled donation should come up.

  2. For step two, select google sheets and connect your google account.

  3. Select your google drive and the spreadsheet that you just created.

  4. Map each webhook value to its respective column.

  5. Test your action (Zapier should send your canceled donation to the google sheet).

  6. Set up Action #3 and select Gmail as the next app.

  7. Select Action Event "Send Email".

  8. Choose your candidate's email account.

  9. Here are the inputs for the setup action:

  10. To: Donor Email via Zapier Webhooks

  11. CC: Your email or the respective staffer who will be tracking this

  12. From: Your candidate's Gmail account

  13. From Name: your candidate's name

  14. Reply to: your candidate's email account (info accounts also work!)

  15. Then, write a persuasive email that will ask the donor to reconsider canceling their monthly donation. Make sure to link it to either a unique ActBlue page or to an existing page but with a new refcode.

  16. Once done, select the body type as "HTML" and use an HTML editor to generate the code for this (This one is great: https://html5-editor.net/)

  17. Copy and paste the new code into the body of the email

  18. For signature, select whatever email signature your candidate email uses

  19. Select the label you created earlier "ActBlue Cancelation Followups"

  20. Test the trigger and you should receive the email from your candidate asking you to reconsider your cancelation. The Zap is ready to go!

Now, anytime someone cancels their monthly donation, they will automatically receive an email asking them to reinstate their contribution.


A more advanced setup could involve a 24-hour timer that would then check a google sheet (that automatically receives all ActBlue contributions through a different webhook and Zap) to see if the email worked. If the donor has not reinstated their contribution, Zapier would then send a staff member a notification with the person's phone number to call and ask for their donation. If your team uses Slack, you could send a Slack message with that information. You could also connect Twilio to the Zap and send a text message to the said donor with an ActBlue link.

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