Committing Regular Donors
Once again, we are hearing a lot about building donor engagement in times of recession, but there is little evidence of radical thinking. Rather, fundraisers are tweaking at the edges of proven techniques. For example, face to face fundraising has no end of experts who will demonstrate how their analysis or approach will reduce attrition rates by 1%. Nothing wrong with that: attrition rates are the bane of face to face recruited regular donors.
But it still leaves the really big issue: these donors give regularly but are not committed. Bringing attrition rates down by 5% still means that half your recruits are not committed at all.
There appear to be two key issues that need to be addressed if we are seriously to secure long-term commitment from our new donors. The first is a thorough review of recruitment techniques themselves. Why do we accept attrition rates of 50% just because the agencies tello us that’s the norm? The two-stop approach to door to door fundraising developed by Tim Lilley over thirty years ago and now espoused by other agencies like Greenmann offer first year attrition rates of 7%, which are holding even it times of recession. Some charities have brought this approach inhouse with similar results. But with such radical differences in attrition rates, as a sector we should be demanding that all agencies take a closer look at their technique for recruitment.
Secondly, and linked to this, we are still not seeking to engage these face to face recruits with “products”. We know that engagement products such as sponsored children lead to higher levels of giving and greater levels of commitment. What new products are being developed to engage people face to face? For example, how many of us ask for a five year commitment to a specific programme, offering engagement with the programme and an end to giving once the project is completed? What new sponsorship products have been developed over the last five to twn years?
It’s about time, recession or no recession, for us all to demand more form our agencies and ourselves. Let’s really start thinking about commitment during recruitment, recession or no recession!