Doorstep face-to-face attrition levels at lowest for six years

Attrition levels of donors recruited through doorstep face-to-face (F2F) fundraising are at their lowest levels since the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) began analysing this data from 2004 onwards. The results of the 2010 Donor Attrition and Retention Survey (DARS) have just been announced at the PFRA’s AGM in London by Rupert Tappin of Future Fundraising and Morag Fleming of Quarriers.
The annual survey of charities have covered the periods 2004 and 2006-08 inclusive. This year’s survey has found that the attrition rate of monthly donors recruited on the doorstep in the first five months of 2009 was 30.5%. The average attrition rate in all previous years was 33%. This means that 33% of people who made a first payment had cancelled their Direct Debit after three months.
Rupert Tappin said that, if this trend continued for the rest of the year, “we should see doorstep attrition come in at around 44 or 45%, which would represent our best year since we began our analysis, as most years have returned annual attrition levels of 48-50%”.
He suggested that the drop in attrition was down to agencies achieving a better balance of finding new donors and ensuring that those donors who do sign up stay giving for longer.
The latest report involved the giving data of 750,000 individual donors spanning 2006 to 2009, representing donations of £68 million of regular giving income. Twenty seven charities submitted data from 121 separate campaigns. 665,271 donors made at least one payment.
Speaking at the AGM, Fleming thanked the new core group of 10 charities which had committed to providing data to DARS for the next five years. She suggested that there was also an international version of DARS being planned to cover Europe.
She commented on the better than expected attrition levels. “The recession has certainly caused us problems,” she said, but perhaps they are not as bad as we might have feared. However, that is probably because street fundraising is experiencing the same improvement in donor care and stewardship that has led to improved attrition levels and so this is offsetting the worst effects of the recession.”
DARS 2010 also found that:
* although street in-house teams showed higher attrition than agency teams in 2006, 2007 and 2008, but by 2009 the pattern had reversed, with 24% attrition at three months against 30% for agency teams. Fleming couldn’t suggest a reason for this.
* the percentages of donors signing up to Gift Aid at the door dropped from a high of 88% in 2006 to 73% in 2009. Street averages suffered a smaller drop, from a high of 76% in 2007 to 73% in 2009.
* the average gift on the door, excluding Gift Aid, dropped from £7.92 to £7.33 from 2006 to 2008, but rose again in 2009 to £8.06. However, the drop in Gift Aid take up reate means that the average gift including Gift Aid has fallen from £9.88 in 2006 to £9.72 in 2009.
* the average gift on the street has also dropped from a high of £9.21 in 2007 to £8.71 in 2009.