For many charities, F2F is the mainstay of their fundraising programme, while others have credited F2F as turning around their fundraising efforts. PFRA estimates that about 17-18 per cent of all donors who are currently giving to charities through direct debits or standing orders were recruited through F2F fundraising.
The reason F2F is so cost-effective is because charities are looking to recruit long-term supporters who will give to them each month for three, four or five years, or even longer. Although about half of the people who sign up through F2F will stop giving in the first year, those that stay beyond 12 months tend to stay for quite a long term and form the bedrock of a charity's supporter base.
All fundraising costs money, and donor recruitment (finding new donors) is more expensive than asking existing supporters to give a little more. F2F of course is no exception and, like all donor recruitment methods, charities have to invest in fundraising and there will be a time before the donations received offset the cost of donor recruitment.
For individual donors, charities will recover the cost of recruiting that donor in anything from 10 to 18 months, depending on how much the donor gives each month and how hard it is to fundraise (for instance, it usually costs mental health charities more to raise money than it does cancer charities).
Across the entire fundraising campaign, an average charity campaign will probably break even (i.e. recoup the full amount of money it spent on fundraising) in about 26-28 months.
The best way to look at the financial benefits of F2F to charities it to look at the long-term ratio of costs to income. These differ from charity to charity but are not likely to be less that 1:2.5 over a five-year period. In other words, for every £1 charities spend on F2F fundraising, they'll raise at least £2.50. For many charities, the figure will be higher than this.