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Fewer donors are cancelling direct debits

Charity Direct Debit Tracking Report 2010 reveals cancellation rates at lowest since June 2007

Fewer people cancelled their direct debit donations to charity in December than at any time since June 2007, according to the latest report from payment processing firm Rapidata.

The Charity Direct Debit Tracking Report 2010, published today, is based on data from more than four million transactions processed last year. It shows cancellation rates fell from 5.6 per cent in January 2009 to 2.6 per cent in December.

This was the first time since June 2007 that the rate was below 3 per cent. In December 2008, the figure was 3.9 per cent.

The firm's previous direct debit report, published last year, showed cancellations of charity direct debits had risen sharply after the collapse of Northern Rock in September 2007.

"Although the UK was still very much in the grip of the recession in early 2009, it seems that the shockingly high cancellation rates of 2008 may be a thing of the past," the report says.

The lower cancellation rates, it says, might result from charities' attempts to retain existing donors rather than recruit new ones.

Ruth Ruderham, head of fundraising at Christian Aid, said: "The findings show how sensitive charity supporters are to the external economic environment. It's encouraging to see how quickly their confidence has bounced back."

Scott Gray, managing director of Rapidata, said the lower cancellation rates might have been because the donors most likely to cancel had already done so in 2008.

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