And I think that is so often the problem with some reactivation / recovery processes. They are implemented as an admin function with computer generated letters selected en mass - and while they remain as such rather than being an intrinsic part of the retention strategy, the process will probably never be as successful as we want it to be.
- Dig a little more deeply into the data - it will tell you much of what you need to know. Who has supported for many years or just one month, the value, the frequency, what else they did during that time if at all... that way you can choose the appropriate messages and also the channel to contact them by.
- Accept that some supporters may not resume regular payments - however, do monitor their other behaviour because they could be supporting in other ways - nothing more damaging than sending a we've missed you letter when they have been campaigning and giving to one-off cash appeals all the while.
- Instead of assuming that someone cancelled by accident and didn't realise it (would account for a very small %) - start from the point of view that it was your organisation that somehow let them down. Which is more likely to be the case. And then try and establish dialogue to find out what the problems were and if at all possible try to address them.
- If you just try to get supporters back without understanding why they left in the first place you are essentially just asking supporters to return to the same unfulfilling experience as before. Why would anyone return for that? Just more of the same! And even if they do resume, how long will they remain giving before they stop giving again?
- Also look at extending reactivation process beyond direct debit non-payers - appeal givers not giving again is equally a big issue that should be better understood - yet reactivation processes in the main seem to focus on lapsing/lapsed regular givers rather than other types of supporters.
Like any other communication - reactivation processes should be about segmentation. Who you choose to contact, by what method and with what message and caring why people are leaving you and taking the time to find out and address the causes.
Taking a little time upfront with the data will mean you can better focus your efforts and communications in the reactivation cycle and even if it doesn't result in better results immediately - the positive experience given to your departing supporters is more likely to secure their support in the future. You are just laying down the ground work now!