'Too late' to plan for recession

Charities should now have measures in place to cope with worsening economic conditions, says expert

Charities that are only now beginning to plan for the recession are too late, according to fundraising expert Alan Clayton.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting in London on Friday, Clayton, director of marketing firm The Good Agency, told about 100 senior fundraisers that they should already have put strategies in place to protect their fundraising income during and after the recession.

Clayton told delegates from many large fundraising organisations such as Cancer Research UK, the British Red Cross and Unicef that it was impossible to learn from previous recessions because modern fundraising was completely different and far more sophisticated.

He urged fundraisers to focus on donor development and increase the frequency of communication. Charities should ask their most committed donors to increase their donations and offer others the chance to reduce their regular payments for six months to try to keep attrition rates down, he said.

"If you let them go now, it will cost you £300 to re-recruit them during the post-recession boom. Do whatever you have to do, but be proactive."

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