The direct debit cancellation rate for charity giving in August was the highest for any August since records began in 2003, according to the latest figures from the direct debit processing company Rapidata.
The figures, which are based on the direct debit donations for a sample of more than 200 charities, show that the cancellation rate reached 4.58 per cent during August. The previous high for August was in 2008, when it reached 4.4 per cent.
The highest for any month was 5.52 per cent in October 2008.
This is the fourth month in a row that direct debit cancellation rates have been higher than the figure recorded for the same month last year.
Scott Gray, managing director of Rapidata, said he was deeply concerned by the latest figures and would not be surprised if the cancellation rate exceeded 5 per cent in September.
"Charities need to know about this shift and they need to act," he said. "This is this fourth consecutive month that cancellations have increased. Although I was hoping we were seeing a temporary blip, it is becoming clear that the trend has shifted once more, with our figures reflecting the recent sharp economic downturn and threat of a double-dip recession."
He said charities should be proactive and it was time to act if they had been planning a stewardship programme or a new campaign.