Moving GoCardless Subscription Plans (or GoCardless payments from another source) to Donorfy Recurring Payment Instructions


Please note that this is a guide as to how you can migrate your existing GoCardless Direct Debits into Donorfy RPIs. It is important that you spend time to understand the process of migrating data, what Donorfy RPIs are, and how they work, to ensure your data is as correct as it can be and to test the process thoroughly before going live.


If your organisation is already collecting Recurring Donations through GoCardless by either using Subscription Plans (subscription templates) or a collection process similar to Donorfy’s Recurring Payment Instructions (RPIs) from another source, you can migrate these across to Donorfy so that the collection process in Donorfy takes over the billing - this has the following advantages:

  • a more complete picture of someone’s giving, 
  • easier to track upgrades, 
  • less manual effort, 
  • better reporting, 
  • only have to manage constituent data in one place    


The payments are still collected via GoCardless but the initiation of the payment collection process is handled by Donorfy rather than GoCardless.


The process of moving recurring payments from another source or Subscription Plans from GoCardless to Donorfy’s RPIs needs careful planning and execution to ensure payments are not missed or even duplicated in the process.

Make sure you understand how: 

  • Recurring Payment Instructions work in Donorfy - these articles provide more information, this one is a good starting point
  • GoCardless and Donorfy work together - these articles describe that 

GoCardless has a knowledge base article here that explains the steps they recommend. The purpose of this article is to add some further details to those steps to help with the process. 


The process

Collate your data

Constituents Information

Download your customer data and ensure that each customer is represented by an active constituent within Donorfy - important the constituent must not be archived.

Instructions to download customer information from GoCardless can be found here


RPI data

Next download the information about the regular payments:

From GoCardless (Subscription Plans)

Download your subscription Active plans information as per this article from GoCardless. The download from GoCardless will have the customer data so that a match to an existing constituent in Donorfy can be made. 

Note: An Active plan is one that the Mandate has been fully set up at the supporter bank - this would typically have taken 3 days. So please be aware that newly created Plans where a Mandate is 'Pending' will not be added as part of this download.


From your current provider

Download your Regular Payment data from your provider



Donorfy Settings

Collection Method

In order to migrate the RPIs and Subscription Plans into Donorfy without initiating the GoCardless collection process create a temporary Collection Method, e.g RPI Migrate

The temporary Collection Method will then be used to set up the RPIs within Donorfy within the next step.


Data Uploads to Donorfy

Upload your constituent data

Constituent Information - see this Knowledge Base article

Minimal information would be the name and email address


Upload your RPI data

RPI data - see this Knowledge Base article

When adding a new RPI to the timeline of the constituent, these are the key fields to set up, other fields - e.g. product, fund, etc you can set to the values you need

    • Type: Recurring Donation
    • Status: Active
    • Frequency: enter Month/Half Year/Quarter or Year
    • Collection Method: enter your temporary collection method
    • Collection Day: approx 3 days prior to the day the payment is debited from the customer account 
    • Start Month: the month the RPI will go live
    • Collection Ref1: GoCardless Mandate Id
    • Payment
      • Amount: amount of the monthly donation
      • Starting: date that the RPI is to start the collection process- see note and examples below
      • Ending: Open Ended
    • Allocation 
      • Amount Due: the amount of the monthly donation

You will also need to add an email address to the RPI upload template so that the uploader can match to a Donorfy constituent.


Key information:
When uploading your RPI data please be aware that if you do not set a Start Date then the Collection Process for the RPI will use the Start Date as Next Collection (i.e the earliest opportunity) and may create a duplicate payment in GoCardless or a missed payment on the RPI.


The Start Date is not the date when the RPI was originally set up with your organisation. The Start Date is the date that the RPI will 'go live' month in Donorfy where it will start to collect payments. 



Date today = 1/5/2020

Switch over / migration date 01/06/2020



Start Date



Collection Day

Monthly Plan next payment date  01/06/2020



Monthly Plan next payment date  07/06/2020



Monthly Plan next payment date  10/06/2020


Monthly Plan next payment date  15/06/2020



Annual Plan next payment date  01/08/2020 01/08/2020 01
Quarterly Plan next payment date  07/07/2020 01/07/2020 07


The RPI on a constituent record will then look something like this:



Check the uploaded RPI Data

Verify your uploaded data

Ensure that the RPI data that has been uploaded to Donorfy is correct. You can do this by creating a new Recurring Payment Instruction List.


Connect to GoCardless

Connect Donorfy to your GoCardless

If you have already connected to GoCardless to take new RPIs via the Web Widgets, then you can skip this step. 

If you have not already connected Donorfy to GoCardless, then you should now connect your Donorfy to GoCardless see this article


Test the process

Walk Through the Conversion Process

We recommend you walk through the migration process with just one of your existing GoCardless subscriptions, this is what you need to do

  • Identify the GoCardless customer you will use - e.g. it could be a colleague or someone you know well – it may be wise to inform them of what you are doing so notifications sent automatically from GoCardless are not a surprise (see point 3 below)
  • Work out the best date for the last payment from the GoCardless subscription to be collected
  • Find the constituent in your GoCardless Dashboard, locate the subscription and cancel it.
    This will not silently close the subscription so a notification will be sent out to the constituent from GoCardless. Canceling will only cancel the subscription – the mandate will be left in place.

    Or, if you are changing RPIs from another source that regular donation is closed appropriately

  • Change the RPI Collection Method to GoCardless - this will now be ready to be entered into the automated collection process for GoCardless payments
  • The collection will start the month of the start date and the collection will be made on the day noted as the collection day within the RPI. Approx. 3 -7 days after the collection day the payment will be added to the constituent Timeline if the collection was successful.
  • Confirm with the chosen constituent that the collection was successful, as expected and that no close notifications were sent by GoCardless.


If all worked, then you can start to migrate the remainder of your Subscription plans or RPIs from another source. If it did not work as expected, select a new test RPI and repeat the process but making adjustments as noted from the previous test.

Update your RPIs that are required based on your findings from your testing. You can use the File Updater to do this 


Check and check again

Make sure that all your constituents are in Donorfy, the RPIs are set up correctly, the GoCardless Mandate ID is present, and that the Start Dates are correct. Only when you are happy with the data that is within Donorfy and the outcomes from the tests that you have done should you move to start the migration fully.


Start the migration

Before starting this stage - please ensure you have tested the process thoroughly - see stages above.


Cancel constituent GoCardless subscription Plans

Contact GoCardless Support requesting a silent close of the constituent’s subscription/s. The process of a silent close will mean that the plan is closed and that no notifications will be sent out to the constituent

You can only silently close all Subscription Plans so please ensure that you are confident that your Start Dates, etc are correct.


Failure to complete this step will result in the double collection of payments - one from GoCardless subscriptions and one from Donorfy Recurring Payment Instructions. 



For RPIs from another source

Close the RPIs on your source dataset. You can opt to close all or migrate in smaller batches - this will differ for each provider


Cancel any recently cancelled or closed RPIs

To avoid any unnecessary failed payments or incorrect billing, ensure that any cancelled subscription plans or Mandates are also updated into Donorfy - this is best done as a manual job.


Update the RPI Collection Method

So that the automated collection process within Donorfy can take over, the Collection Method will need to be changed from your temporary one - e.g RPI Migrate - to the correct one: GoCardless. - for those RPIs that you would like to activate.

You can use the File Updater to do this - see this article

Once the Collection Method has been updated, the automated process will take over the collection process and will look for any RPI that is due to start within the current month and has not been collected and will then will bill for the payment via GoCardless which will then duplicate payments from those constituents (one from the Subscription Plan or regular payment from the other provider and one from Donorfy) hence why the start date is important to get correct in the earlier stages. 

Reviewing RPI Collections

You will be able to see a 30 history of the RPIs being collected by Donorfy. To see these open Financial and Recurring Income.

Under the History tab, you will see the RPIs being sent for billing, payments received, and RPIs that have missed payments.



You can also check the Last Payment Received date in a Recurring Payment Instruction List.



When using the GoCardless integration in its standard format, a new payment notification will be sent from GoCardless each time a payment is requested. These notifications are designed to comply with BACS rules for processing Direct Debits.

You can limit the number of notifications being sent to a constituent by using your own notifications. When setting up your own notifications the process will require a 'New Direct Debit' notification to be sent.

It is suggested that this could be a notification to inform your constituents that their Direct Debit is now being fulfilled differently and to re-confirm their Direct Debit details.

Once this has been done no further notifications will be sent unless there is a change made to their RPI. 

This Knowledge Base runs through the process of creating your own notifications Using Your Own Notifications for GoCardless Direct Debits



Key things to note:

  • Ensure that your data in Donorfy is correct 
  • Ensure that you are familiar with the RPI collection Process in Donorfy
  • After any changes to RPI data within Donorfy recheck that the data is correct
  • Test and Test again 

Ensure that the process works correctly before moving the remainder of regular donations or Subscription Plans.

  • When is a Good Time to Move? 

For some organisations this will be clear cut due to only having one or two payment dates, but for other organisations it may be harder to identify a window in the month when GoCardless subscriptions, and as such it is critical that the start dates of the RPIs are correct.

Any payments expected to be paid within the first 10 days of the migration date it is suggested that the RPI in Donorfy is set for the following due date, i.e. next month.


  • Add any missing transactions

Add any missing transactions to Donorfy that may have come in from the payment plans or the other source in the meantime.




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