Debate: Are charities doing enough to keep hold of their direct debit donors?

The direct debit cancellation rate was 4.58 per cent in August, the highest ever for that month of the year

VIRGINIE KAN - individual giving manager, RSPCA

Virginie KanThe direct debit cancellation rate was 4.58 per cent in August, the highest ever for that month of the year.

August was reported as a record month for direct debit cancellations by the direct debit processing company Rapidata, but our attrition rates have remained consistent in 2011, showing that animal charities are bucking the trend in the recession.

We continue to review supporter journeys and have tried to engage donors further with our work. We also try to provide value: this year, for example, we sent regular givers, cash donors and other audiences a copy of our magazine, Animal Life, to acknowledge their support - this has brought positive feedback and additional income.

BETH BREEZE - researcher, Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, University of Kent

Beth BreezeI'm sure most charities work hard to hold on to their committed donors. But I wonder how many are aware of research that shows only one in five committed donors stop supporting a charity because they can't afford to continue?

It's easy to blame economic factors, but almost 80 per cent of donors who cancel do so because they feel unappreciated, don't get enough feedback about how their money was used or fail to develop a strong identification with the cause. So efforts should be focused on averting those reasons for cancellation.

DAWN VARLEY - trustee, Institute of Fundraising

Dawn VarleyCharities don't live in a bubble, and there's a harsh economic wind blowing out there. Supporters have to make cost-cutting decisions when times are hard, and we have to accept that. What we shouldn't do is sit back and whinge. We need to keep the relationship warm, so that supporters will want to return to us and donate when the time is right for them.

Check your charity's supporter journey has non-financial aspects - not every communication should have an ask. Other ways to engage and support are key. Perhaps you should maximise your Gift Aid sign-up. Above all, be patient for better times.

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