Payment processing and fulfilment services companies Valldata and Rapidata have partnered under a newly formed holding company, VRD Group Ltd. The two charity specialist agencies will maintain their brands and service operations but work in partnership to offer their services.
Regular giving and Direct Debit processing specialist Rapidata Services Plc was acquired this week by the same investors who two weeks ago backed the management buy-out of payment processing and fulfilment provider, Valldata Services Limited.
The result is in effect a single donation processing and fulfilment service for charities. Valldata will focus on providing cash and card payment processing, campaign fulfilment and back office services, and Rapidata as a Bacs approved bureau specialising in Direct Debit collections, regular giving optimisation and online giving services.
Existing client contracts and relationships will “continue unchanged”. There are very few mutual charity clients involved, but all were notified promptly this week.
Scott Gray, managing director of Rapidata, which was established in 1997, said:
“This buyout is good news for our clients, our staff and the wider sector. We will be working together to further invest in and enhance our offerings in supporting charities and not-for- profits.”
“I’m looking forward to working with Greg and Valldata in pooling our experience as we embark on a new journey. Valldata and Rapidata have both invested in and developed high-quality payment processing and fulfilment services for the charity sector. Partnering our businesses allows us to offer the sector’s most comprehensive range of complementary services for our charity clients.”
Greg Michael, Chief Executive, Valldata said:
“The breadth of services that Valldata and Rapidata can offer together allows us to provide the most comprehensive and differentiated payment processing and campaign fulfilment service in the sector. It will allow us to do an even better job in serving the needs of our charity clients in undertaking their vital work.”
The partnership follows a torrid year for many fundraising agencies that served the larger charities, following sustained criticism of some fundraising techniques and practices. Several established fundraising agencies closed as charity clients withdrew work in response to the media and political criticism, and over 1,000 fundraising agency staff lost their jobs.
Acknowledging the unprecedented focus on relationships between charities and their agencies over the past year, Scott Gray commented:
“It’s an incredibly positive time to be developing the next generation of agency services in this sector; we are operating in a new and more stringent regulatory climate and charities need to minimise risk while increasing efficiency in a responsible and accountable way”.
The two private investors behind Valldata and Rapidata are said to have an interest in the charity sector. Although initially they will focus on consolidation, they have not ruled out further acquisitions.