Gift CSA Subscriptions: Best Practices

Whether or not it is something you actively promote, it's likely one of your Members will eventually ask about buying a CSA membership for a friend or family member. There are a number of ways to handle this situation with the Member Assembler and E-commerce tools.

The most straightforward is to suggest that the Member go through the standard signup process "as" their gift recipient, choosing their Types and Pickup location and contact information as best as they can guess. The downsides to this are:

  • The giver may not know all the needed information for the recipient.
  • The giver may try to sign up using their own contact information which will cause some conflicts and confusion.
  • The giver might not want to buy the entire share but wants to gift more than a down-payment.
  • The recipient would just receive an email out-of-the-blue acknowledging their signup which might come as a surprise to them and a disappointment for the giver.

Our suggested best practice for gift CSA subscriptions is for you to set up an E-commerce department strictly for gifts. In this department, you'd make several items of various amounts: one that matches the price of each of your main shares and maybe a few of some generic denominations. In the description of the department, be sure to remind the shopper to use the Order Notes at the end of the checkout process to name the person the gift is for, their email address, and any additional note for the gift.

Then, you can create a Member Assembler coupon code that is specific to that gift recipient with a flat amount equal to the gift purchase. You will have to keep an eye out to make sure the code isn't abused, and edit it to make it invalid after the recipient uses it.

Lastly, email the gift recipient with your own personalized email welcoming them and telling them what a great gift they've been given. Share the coupon code with them, making sure to make it clear it is only for their benefit for a one-time use. Don't forget to include the gift note from their sender.

While this is a much greater hands-on process, remember that this is your chance to make a first impression with someone who may be your customer for a long time. Unlike your other Members, they may not have necessarily gone through the decision-making process including learning all about your farm. At Small Farm Central, we do hope to make some of these steps more automated in the future to save you time, but we will still always stress the importance of your personal touch.