Beacon

Importing recurring payments & memberships

Updated 2 months ago

Accepting new memberships and recurring donations through Beacon forms works seamlessly; you get a new membership record, a new subscription record, and payments all link automatically behind the scenes.

But what about your existing recurring donations and memberships?

Below we'll take you through both your initial set up, as well as ongoing imports. If your recurring payments are through Stripe or GoCardless, use our in-built template for your set up and then new payments will be imported and linked automatically.

Before reading on, be sure to have a read through our article on import templates to familiarise yourself with a few of the concepts.

link Contents

link Importing GoCardless and Stripe subscriptions
link Importing recurring donations
  1. What you need
  2. Importing
  3. What next?
link Importing recurring memberships
  1. What you need
  2. Importing
  3. What next?
link Frequently asked questions

link Import GoCardless and Stripe subscriptions

If you have previous recurring subscriptions in Stripe or GoCardless that you'd like to store in Beacon, you're in luck! Our integration means that any new payments can be linked to their subscriptions in Beacon and be imported automatically.

To start, you will need to import your previous payments, and also set up the subscriptions. Then, any new payments will get passed into Beacon without any manual processes!

link GoCardless

  1. Export your payments from GoCardless: https://manage.gocardless.com/payments
  2. Export your subscriptions from GoCardless: https://manage.gocardless.com/subscriptions GoCardless export button
  3. Create a new import template, using the pre-filled 'GoCardless - Payments' template
  4. Check and change the fixed data if needed - in particular if these payments are Gift Aid eligible. Save your template. GoCardless payments fixed data
  5. Import your payments from Run import with the template you just saved Run import sidebar
  6. Create a new import template, using the pre-filled 'GoCardless - Subscriptions' template
  7. Check and change the fixed data if needed - in particular if these subscriptions are Gift Aid eligible. Save your template. GoCardless subscriptions fixed data
  8. Import your subscriptions from Run import with the template you just saved

All done!

check_circle_outline Your subscriptions and payments are now imported into Beacon, and any new payments that come in from these subscriptions will be added automatically! Super!

link Stripe

  1. Export your invoices from Stripe, choosing 'All columns': https://dashboard.stripe.com/invoices Stripe payments all columns
  2. Export your subscriptions from Stripe, choosing 'All columns': https://dashboard.stripe.com/subscriptions Stripe subscriptions all columnsStripe export button
  3. Create a new import template, using the pre-filled 'Stripe - Payments' template
  4. Check and change the fixed data if needed - in particular if these payments are Gift Aid eligible. Save your template. Stripe payments fixed data
  5. Import your payments/invoices from Run import with the template you just saved Run import sidebar
  6. Create a new import template, using the pre-filled 'Stripe - Subscriptions' template
  7. Check and change the fixed data if needed - in particular if these subscriptions are Gift Aid eligible. Save your template. Stripe subscriptions fixed data
  8. Import your subscriptions from Run import with the template you just saved

Finito!

check_circle_outline Your Stripe subscriptions and payments are now imported into Beacon, and any new payments that come in from these subscriptions will be added automatically! Wunderbar!


link Recurring donations

help_outline If you're importing CAF payments, see our specific CAF guide.

If you're importing standing orders, they're managed a little differently. See our standing order automation guide for details.

Importing recurring donations is slightly more involved than individual payments. There's a few things that need to happen to be able to have accurate, usable data to report on going forward.

There are 3 key records need to be created or updated from your imports:

  • A Person
  • A Subscription
  • Payments

Additionally:

  • The Payments need to point to a Person and a Subscription
  • The Subscription needs to point to a Person

Phew! That's a lot of pointing... Let's take a look at it in a bit more detail.

link What you need

If you would like to regularly import payments from an external provider, you will need to have information about both the individual donations (the Payments in Beacon), as well as the overall donation schedule (the Subscription in Beacon).

For example, you need to know that Samson gave £10 on the 3rd of June, and also that he gives £10 every quarter.

Often, these are in two separate spreadsheets/reports, but occasionally may also be in the one sheet.

The key ingredient to make it all work is an ID that will stay static for this person's giving.

Tilly gives £15 monthly, and every payment is linked to the same ID; TK421, which is different to anyone else's ID.

help_outline If you don't have a unique ID for the Subscription, we recommend simply importing the payments on their own so that they're only linked to the Person.

link Importing

You will need to do two import templates - One for the subscription information, and one for the payments themselves.

link Subscription

Create a new template, for the Subscriptions record type, mapping any information about the regular giving to the relevant fields. For example:

  • Amount
  • Frequency
  • First payment date
  • Payment method
  • Payer's details

Map your unique ID to the 'External ID' field on the Subscription. Subscription field mapping

As you would with other imports, you can also set 'Fixed data' for all of these subscriptions. For example:

  • Gift Aid allowed? - Checked
  • Type - Recurring donation
  • Status - Active
  • Source - "Your provider name" (see how you can add new options to the 'Source' field)

For deduplication, use the 'External ID' for Subscriptions and the person's email address for People.Recurring subscription deduplication

link Payments

Create a new template, for the Payments record type, mapping any information about the transactions to the relevant fields. For example:

  • Amount
  • Payment date
  • Fees
  • Payment method
  • Payer's details

Map your unique ID to the 'External ID' field on the Subscription. Note: Payments also have an 'External ID' field!

Payment field mapping

As you would with other imports, you can also set 'Fixed data' for all of these subscriptions. For example:

  • Gift Aid allowed? - Checked
  • Type - Donation
  • A Campaign or Fund
  • Source - "Your provider name" (see how you can add new options to the 'Source' field)
  • Type on People - Donor

For deduplication, use the 'External ID' for Subscriptions and the person's email address for People. For the payment, use the 'External ID' (if you had a payment ID for payments) or simply leave blank - we want this to create new payments so it's ok!Payment deduplication

check_circle_outline You'll now have new Payments linked to a Subscription and the Person who made the donation!

link What next?

Going forwards, you'll still want to import both spreadsheets each time you're reconciling your donations. This will catch new donors, as well as changes to the subscriptions (like cancellations / amount changes).


link Recurring memberships

help_outline This section repeats many of the instructions from 'Recurring donations' above, but are included for completeness

Importing memberships can be tricky! There's a few things that need to happen to be able to have accurate, usable data to report on going forward.

There are 4 key records need to be created from your imports:

  • A Membership
  • A Subscription
  • A Person
  • Payments

Additionally:

  • The Payments need to point to a Person, a Subscription, and a Membership
  • The Subscription needs to point to a Person and a Membership
  • The Membership needs to point to a Person

Phew! That's a lot of pointing... Let's take a look at it in a bit more detail.

link What you need

To get your memberships set up in Beacon, you will need to have information about both their membership itself (Membership in Beacon), their payment schedule information (Subscription in Beacon) and the membership fees that have been paid (Payments in Beacon).

For example, you need to know that member 65132, Samson, has a Platinum membership that started on the 10th of February this year, which he pays £50 annually for. He paid on the 1st of February by card.

Often, these will be in two or sometimes three separate spreadsheets/reports.

The key ingredient to make it all work is a unique ID that will stay static for this person's payments. Usually, this will be the member number.

Tilly pays £15 monthly for her membership, and every payment is linked to her membership number; 3487, which is different to anyone else's member number.

help_outline If you don't have a unique ID for the Membership and Subscription, we usually recommend simply importing the payments on their own so that they're only linked to the Person. Get in touch if you'd like some more help here!

link Importing

You will need to do three import templates - One for the membership details, one for subscription information, and one for the payments themselves.

help_outline Before you start importing, you'll need to turn OFF the member number auto-number field, and create a new short text field on People to store their member number. These are both only for initial setup!

link Membership

Create a new template, for the Memberships record type, mapping any information about the membership to the relevant fields. For example:

  • Member number
  • Type
  • Start date
  • Status
  • Expiry date (only if payment isn't collected automatically (like cash or cheque) or if the membership has already expired)
  • Member's details (phone, address, etc)

Duplicate your member number with a virtual column (e.g. ="{{{Member number}}}" ), and map to the 'Member number' field on People, via the 'Member' field. Membership importing virtual columnMembership import mapping

As you would with other imports, you can also set 'Fixed data' for all of these memberships. For example:

  • Source - Website or Shop
  • Type on People - Member

For deduplication, use the 'Member number' for Memberships and 'Member number' for People. Membership deduplication

link Subscription

Create a new template, for the Subscriptions record type, mapping any information about the payment schedule to the relevant fields. For example:

  • Amount
  • Frequency
  • First payment date
  • Payment method
  • Status

Map your member number to the 'External ID' field on the Subscription. Duplicate your member number twice with two virtual columns (e.g. ="{{{Member number}}}" ), and map to the 'Member number' field on Memberships via the 'Membership' field, and People via the 'Payer' field. Membership subscription mapping

As you would with other imports, you can also set 'Fixed data' for all of these subscriptions. For example:

  • Gift Aid allowed? - Checked or Unchecked
  • Type - Recurring membership fee
  • Status - Active
  • Source - "Your payment provider name" (see how you can add new options to the 'Source' field)

For deduplication, use the 'External ID' for Subscriptions, and the 'Member number' for both Memberships and People.Membership subscription deduplication

link Payments

Create a new template, for the Payments record type, mapping any information about the transactions to the relevant fields. For example:

  • Amount
  • Payment date
  • Fees
  • Payment method
  • External ID (if there's a payment ID)

Map your member number to the 'External ID' field on the Subscription (via 'Subscription'). Note: Payments also have an 'External ID' field! Duplicate your member number twice with two virtual columns (e.g. ="{{{Member number}}}" ), and map to the 'Member number' field on Memberships (via 'Membership'), and People (via 'Payer'). Membership payment field mapping

As you would with other imports, you can also set 'Fixed data' for all of these subscriptions. For example:

  • Gift Aid allowed? - Checked or Unchecked
  • Type - Membership fee
  • A Campaign or Fund
  • Source - "Your provider name" (see how you can add new options to the 'Source' field)

For deduplication, use the 'External ID' for Subscriptions and the 'Member number' for People and Memberships. For the payment, use the 'External ID' (if you had a payment ID for payments) or simply leave blank - we want this to create new payments so it's ok!Payment deduplication

check_circle_outline You'll now have new Memberships set up, and with the Payments linked to the Membership, a Subscription, and the Person who signed up!

link Going forwards

By far the easiest way to manage your memberships in future is to encourage any members that need to renew to do so via a Beacon membership form. Payments and subscriptions will update automatically, saving you time and effort!

Simply turn on 'Allow members to use this form to renew their memberships?' on your form, and members can enter their member number to renew their next membership or change to recurring payments going forward. See this section of our guide.


link Frequently Asked Questions


link Do I need to follow this exactly?

No, you can tailor it to your needs.

We've been quite specific to encourage successful imports, but since Beacon is a very flexible product, you can change things as you see fit.

As an example, you could add extra fields for People like address, phone, how they heard about you, etc. when importing.

The key is to still use your unique ID to link the record types together when you import. If you're familiar with importing, and how the data in your database relates to each other, feel free to make changes to the process.

link I'm missing some information, can I still import?

Yes, it will simply mean that some of your records will be incomplete.

e.g. If you don't have the frequency for the subscription, your payments will still import correctly, will still link to the subscription, you just won't be able to see this record if you were filtering for all 'monthly' subscriptions, for example.

The key pieces of data you can't do without are the ID fields (External IDs or Member numbers), and the amount of the payments. Outside of those you'll simply have a few holes in your data.

link My payment, subscripton, and membership data are separate, do I have to combine them?

Nope! As long as you have the IDs to correctly link your records in Beacon, you can have your data in separate sheets. In fact, it's often easier!

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