Regular givers on the rise but recruitment via direct mail declining, report shows

Recruitment to regular giving has increased over the last three years with 24% of supporters regular givers in 2016 compared to 17% in 2013, a report from Qbase has found, but fewer people are recruited via direct mail with face to face most successful and digital recruitment a growing trend.
The Qbase Context Report, which helps organisations understand how their charity is performing by using sector KPIs to provide benchmarking insight, reveals that charity supporter recruitment through direct mail declined to 30% in 2016, compared to 46% in 2013, while 46% of regular givers in 2016 were recruited via face to face. However, the report shows a decrease in focus on using face-to-face, cold mail and telemarketing channels since 2015, with digital recruitment expected to continue to be a growing trend into 2018.
Digital channels score the best first donation values, at £36, but are one of the worst for retention. Inserts however provide one of the most effective channels for positive lifetime value with a first recruitment value of £25, and are also the best channel for supporter retention with almost 50% going on to give again.
However, the report also showed that the majority of average charity databases consist of supporters who have never donated (47%), those who have lapsed (34%) and those lapsing (5%), and highlighted an emerging trend of numbers of lapsing supporters outweighing new supporters (5% vs. 3% of individuals on a database).
Qbase’s Insight team performed data collection and benchmarking analysis over the course of 2016 for the report, which explores key products within fundraising and individual giving, from raffle and regular giving, to direct mail appeals. Email data, lottery and paid membership KPIs and a review of 2016 direct mail Christmas cash campaign appeals are also included.

Key findings:

How active is a charity database?

How can charities communicate with supporters?
Database broken down by marketable permissions and contact information available across key communication channels


qbase communications channels
Most successful channels for securing email source of contact permission

Recruitment versus product offering (2013-2016)

Qbase recruitment products
Best product for retention

DM cash recruitment

Regular giving recruitment

qbase regular giving recruitment
Direct mail to regular giving conversion


Matt Porter, Qbase Business Insight Solutions Consultant said:

‘’It’s never been more important for the sector to focus on keeping supporters ‘active’, particularly given the fact that, on average supporters are lapsing at a higher percentage than new ones coming onto the database.
‘‘With marketable permissions set to be impacted by GDPR, it’s critical that charities are working now to collect supporter preferences. Postal methods remain a huge channel of opportunity to market to supporters. However, charities have increased investment across digital communication channels such as email and social media platforms in recent years and this channel is increasingly being used as a method of engaging with supporters. It will be interesting to see how this develops in next year’s Context report.”

Recruitment for the 2018 project will begin in January 2018. The project is completely anonymised with Qbase receiving no personal identifiers or names and addresses, and gives participating charities a fully customised report identifying areas of opportunity in which to develop new product offerings. Charities interested in possible involvement are invited to contact the Qbase team at