Charities 'must act' to reduce direct debit attrition

Charities should take responsibility for reducing the number of donors recruited via face-to-face methods who cancel direct debits, according to one expert.

Rupert Tappin, managing director of fundraising consultancy Future Fundraising, will tell delegates at the Where Now For Face-to-Face Fundraising conference in London tomorrow that charities must take the initiative and ask fundraising agencies they work with for detailed information about which sites and fundraisers produce higher-than-average attrition rates.

Tappin will say that attrition rates are rising, and the break-even point for donors recruited on the street is consequently rising, but most agencies have no financial incentive to cut attrition rates. "Payment systems often don't encourage agencies to minimise attrition because, beyond an initial period, they still get paid even if the donor cancels their direct debit," he said.

He will also say that the sector needs to adopt a single system to measure attrition so charities can benchmark their own attrition rates against other similar charities and a set of industry averages.

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