Saturday, 7 December 2013

Donor recovery - is there a way back?

A while ago a friend of mine briefly explained her thoughts in relation to cancelling her Direct Debits to charity - and at the end she made the point that she had yet to be contacted by any of the charities.

To be honest I am a little hung up about reactivation because I do believe it is a neglected element of many supporter care programmes - I say supporter care, because we should care who is ceasing their financial support to us and also why.

So, I thought I would try this for myself and cancel some of the DDs that I have had in place for several years.  To these charities I am not a recent recruit to a high attrition channel so my behaviour is not expected statistically, no, I am a long-standing supporter - who gave generously and also for many years.  So what happened.

Charity 1:

Within a week of cancelling, I received a telephone call.  Polite, upbeat and very much leading with the fact that they could see that my DD was cancelled and whether that was a mistake?  It was a nice call but I felt it was interesting that the starting point was that it had somehow been an error - when I had actively cancelled the DD with my bank.

BACS error codes are numerous and quite granular - and cancelled at bank is a clear  and probably a frequently seen code.  So would it be rude to actually say what is seen?  I see that you cancelled your support to us - would you mind telling me why or if there is anything we could do to help you continue your support? Or something to that effect.

I say this as for many recovery calls and approaches - there is an inherent problem that unless you find out why someone has cancelled to ascertain if your organisation has specifically failed the person you are purely offering the same again. Whether good, bad or indifferent.  Is that really an approach that would engender reactivation for longer than the length of the telephone call?  I am not sure it is to be fair.

Charity 2:

I received a letter - probably 10 days after the payment was due - it was a standard admin letter - providing me with tick boxes of my intention - either to resume payment or to indicate that I did
intend to leave.

It was an okay letter to be contained a warm thanks for my support until now - and then gave me some tick boxes to tick to indicate if the reason for my cancellation was due to 'too many mailings' or that charity x had upset me somehow.  Again, all very useful but there was something quite fait accompli about the whole thing.  Almost as though they knew it wouldn't work.

So the question is, is it worth trying to win people back and the bigger question is if you do for how long will they keep giving?

I can't answer that for sure, but what I do believe is that we have more chance of success if we find out what the problem is and if we are ultimately at fault rather than blaming the bank or assuming it is an error. We may as a result learn some invaluable insight, and be able to do something about it.  Better than not knowing and carrying on regardless.

Thanks as ever for stopping by.