Shelter steers its face to face fundraisers away from under-25s

Housing charity focuses on older groups to improve attrition rates

  • This story was corrected on7 July. See final paragraph

Shelter has stopped paying face-to-face fundraisers commission for signing up under-25s because of the high attrition rates among donors in that age group.

Speaking at the Institute of Fundraising National Convention yesterday, Matt Goody, head of direct marketing at the housing charity, said the decision had been taken to encourage fundraisers to focus on older people, who were less likely to cancel their monthly direct debits.

He admitted that this had a negative effect on return on investment at first because fundraisers signed up fewer people, but he urged other charities to follow Shelter’s example. He said having an in-house fundraising team meant Shelter could afford to play the long game.

"Now under 25s make up only 4 per cent of donors recruited by our face-to-face fundraisers, and the numbers recruited are almost up to what they were," said Goody. "In addition to falling attrition rates, this means that our return on investment has increased significantly."

Goody said it was difficult to adopt this approach without an in-house team because agencies charged more if they were asked to target specific groups of people.

He also said fundraisers initially disliked the idea that the pool of people they could sign up and earn commission on had been reduced.

  • Shelter says it does not pay commission to its fundraisers, although they do have targets. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

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