Charity benefits from offering donors flexible payments

Irish Hospice Foundation offered payment holidays and the chance to cancel direct debits

The risky decision to give donors the options of cancelling their direct debits or taking payment holidays has paid off for one Irish charity: its donations have gone up by the equivalent of nearly £23,000

The Irish Hospice Foundation, which supports the development of hospice care in the Republic of Ireland, wrote to 3,500 direct debit donors in April asking them to increase their donations.

But it told them that "you may need to rethink your donation" because of the recession. It offered the options of a reduced donation, a three-month payment holiday or cancellation.

Tim O'Dea, head of finance at the Irish Hospice Foundation, said the move had "put his head on the block", but it had paid off.

He said only four people used the form to cancel their donations to the organisation and 444 went for an increase. This produced a growth in the charity's income of €25,000 (£22,900) a year - and a great deal of positive feedback.

The charity's latest accounts show total donations for the year to December 2008 as the equivalent of £1.65m, compared with £1.9m in 2007.

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