Wednesday 14 September 2011

My 20p's worth on the Rapidata report

Some quick thoughts of the recent Rapidata findings that report August 2011 to be the highest month for Direct Debit (DD) cancelations.

Mark blogged about it brilliantly here

It’s been very clear to us all for the last couple of years that the source of new regular givers is rapidly changing.  A client whose strategy I know very well, 5 years ago recruited over 60% of it’s new monthly givers from the traditional sources of DRTV, direct mail, door drop and inserts.  That same client is now recruiting over 65% of its new monthly givers from dialogue based sources like Street, Door to Door and Cold Telemarketing.

We all know that these new dialogue sources of monthly giver deliver higher attrition rates than the more traditional sources of monthly giver.

So, it follows that as the proportion of donors from these sources increases, then the proportion of cancellations has to increase as well.

I’m not denying the impact of the global financial situation on giving at all. It’s clear that there is a growing concern amongst the public that their disposable income is shrinking. But we need to be careful not to blame the economic situation when the biggest driver of increasing cancellations might be channel.

So what to do?

Whatever you do don’t stop recruiting from these higher attrition channels. Of course refine your list selection for the phone and make sure you are managing the key performance indicators in your face to face recruitment (age, value and location).

But put a LOT of focus into understanding how you can reduce the attrition rates of these dialogue recruited donors.

It’s a line I maybe trot out a little too often – but you really need to match the passion of the initial acquisition moment in your subsequent communications with these donors or they will tune out quickly and lapse. 

They just will.  So, here come the sweeping generalisations...

They are not long copy, print based, detail people.

Or at least they are not at the very beginning of their relationship with you. They will get involved in the detail once you get them past the first month or two.

They are visual, high impact, short copy, demonstrate the need to me now type of people.  Think video, infographic, real life stories, SMS and welcome call. Think mobile stewardship. 

Like I say, probably drenched in generalisation. But these donors are different and we need to think differently, quickly to keep them.


  1. Hi Paul

    Thanks very much for the mention. I agree that stopping recruitment is crazy. It's short-term gain for some long-term pain.

    But I am worried about the attrition results being reported. And after looking at the numbers, I'm not so sure it's down to a ratio change.

    But in any case, as you point out, the issue is not what's happening but why? And what should we do to tackle it.

    We've found at Bluefrog that the amount of effort that a donor will put into reading post recruitment communications (and their subsequent actions) reflects the nature of the content you are delivering.

    If you concentrate on showing a donor what their gift has achieved (as opposed to showing them what the charity in general is achieving), people love it. They actually appear to relish the detail.

    It doesn't necessarily matter what media you use as long as you concentrate on delivering what donors want.

    Where digital media wins is that it is fast, rich and inexpensive (and appropriate for many of our street, door and phone recruits).

    But, as with mail, without the right content it will still be destined to fail.

    Great post.

  2. Hi Mark

    Thanks for taking the time to comment ;)

    I don't think the issue is ratio of source alone, but I wanted to make the point that it needs to be considered. As few in the more general sector press seem to be talking about it.

    I totally agree on content. We need to be giving people stuff that they want, will value and will remember. If we are dull, we will be dropped.

    Thanks again for your comment.