Using Your Own Notifications for GoCardless Direct Debits

When you use GoCardless to collect payments for recurring payments the account holder will receive an emailed notification from GoCardless when

  • The direct debit mandate is set up, and
  • Each payment is about to be taken.

These notifications are designed to comply with BACS rules for processing direct debits.

You can decide to use your own notifications in place of the standard GoCardless notifications, this allows you to

  • Have control over the branding and content of the emails and
  • Send notifications less often


When will Donorfy Send Notifications?

Donorfy will send a notification email 

  • For new signups via a Donorfy GoCardless web widget - i.e. for new recurring payment instructions, or 
  • Payment is requested for an existing recurring payment instruction that has not been previously notified by you, or
  • A change is made to the amount, frequency, start or end date of a recurring payment instruction

Once a notification has been sent further notifications will not be sent unless a change is made to the recurring payment instruction which requires re-notification.

An activity is added to the timeline when a notification is sent, a copy of the notification is linked to the activity.


Setting up your Notification Documents

To set up sending your own notifications you need to:

  1. Create your notification documents in Donorfy
  2. Make sure you have configured your email server settings in order to send the emails from Donorfy 
  3. Get your notifications approved by Donorfy
  4. When your notifications are approved by the Donorfy Support Team, switch on Send Notifications from Donorfy in Settings

These stages are outlined below: 

1. Create your notification documents

The notification documents are set up in the same way as other documents in Donorfy - see this article for more information - examples of notifications can be found here.

You should set up two notification documents for the two situations described in 'When will Donorfy Send Notifications?' above. 

Donorfy will use the 'New Signups' document when no payments have been collected for the recurring payment instruction otherwise the 'existing recurring payment instruction' notification document will be used.

 Key information to include in your notification documents are:

  • your organisation's logo - see this article
  • the Direct Debit logo - using this URL when including the image
  • a link to your Direct Debit guarantee
  • your organisation's contact details
  • the amount to be debited each time
  • frequency of collections
  • collection day (on or immediately after)
  • the following placeholders: 

{CollectionReference2} - Last 2 digits of account number

{CollectionReference3} - Account Holder Name

{CollectionReference4} - Bank Name

{CollectionReference5} - Reference


These are some useful placeholders which can be used in the notifications, other placeholders can be found in this document and you can also use {LastPaymentMessage} - if the recurring payment instruction has an end date this placeholder will include the text The last payment will be taken on dd/mm/yyyy, if the  recurring payment instruction does not have an end date then the placeholder will not return any text.


2. Configure your email settings

Make sure you have configured your email server settings in order to send the emails from Donorfy - see this article for more info 


3. Getting your Notifications Approved

To ensure that your notifications are compliant with BACS and GoCardless rules, it is extremely important that your notifications are approved by the Donorfy Team prior to you going live with the notification sending. 

To do this follow these steps

  • Add a test constituent with your email address
  • Go to the test constituent and add a test recurring payment instruction to the constituent's timeline - the recurring payment instruction should have a collection method of 'GoCardless' and a GoCardless Mandate Id of 'Test' - save the recurring payment instruction.
  • Open the recurring payment instruction and from the manage menu pause the RPI
  • Re-open the RPI and choose Send Document from the manage menu, choose your New recurring payment instruction notification document and send it your email address
  • Repeat the 'Send Document' steps with your existing recurring payment instruction notification document 

The two documents will arrive in your inbox you can then send them to Donorfy Support for approval by attaching them to a new support request. Once approved you are ready to start sending your own notifications and switch on your notification settings...


4. Switching on Sending Notifications from Donorfy

Once you have your notifications approved go Settings | Configuration and find your GoCardless settings - choose your notification documents, switch 'Send Notifications from Donorfy' to yes and press Save Changes


Sending a New Notification 

If you need to send or resend a notification for a recurring payment instruction open the recurring payment instruction, from the Manage menu, choose Send Notification then press Notify.


When a notification is sent a Payment Collection Information activity is added to the constituent's timeline.

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