- Average street attrition back below 50 per cent
- Average first year street F2F at lowest recorded level
- Average doorstep attrition at 37 per cent
Attrition levels of donors recruited through face-to-face fundraising are falling to pre-recession levels, new figures released by the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association show.
Data from the annual Donor Attrition and Retention Survey (DARS) very clearly show that attrition for street fundraising campaigns run during 2007 and 2008 were higher than for campaigns run during 2004 and 2006. Attrition at the end of the first year was 46.4 per cent in 2004 and 47.4 per cent in 2006, but this jumped to 52.0 per cent in 2007 and 53.5 per cent in 2008.
However, attrition for street campaigns run during 2009 is back down to 44.2 per cent, the lowest for all street campaigns surveyed, although 2004 is the best performing street campaign overall. Attrition levels of the first five months of campaigns run during 2010 are trending to be even lower (although there is a caveat that this is currently based on a much smaller dataset and could change with further information provided by the next edition of DARS).
There is a similar story for doorstep F2F campaigns, but attrition jumped on the doorstep one year early in 2006 rather than 2007, which has been put down to market conditions among the agencies providing F2F services in that year: 2004 – 33.2 per cent; 2006 – 41.2 per cent; 2007 – 43.4 per cent; 2008 – 41.8 per cent; 2009 – 37.2 per cent.
“This is undisputable evidence that the recession was the major factor influencing increased attrition,” says Morag Fleming, head of supporter relations at social care charity Quarriers and co-founder of DARS. “It is great news for charities because lower attrition means better retention which means more money raised for good causes.”
Analysis over five years shows that although 2007 and 2008 had higher attrition levels in the first year, by the third year, rates were converging on the levels for campaigns run in previous years. Rupert Tappin, director of Future Fundraising and the other founder of DARS, says: “Irrespective of the initial levels of attrition, once donors have stayed with a charity for three years they appear to exhibit similar and predictable degrees of loyalty. High attrition levels in the early stages don’t mean that attrition will run away off the scale for the next five years.
“However, analysis of individual charity data shows that if you start with an attrition rate that is higher than other charities, you will end with an attrition rate that is higher than other charities. It is vitally important that charities and their providers do everything they can to improve their stewardship to minimise the number of donors that cancel in the first three months.”
Other findings from DARS 2011 showed:
- Lower initial gifts resulted in lower attrition than high initial gifts
- Older age groups have lower attrition than younger ones (although older age groups do not sign up as readily as younger ones).
DARS 2011 was the largest edition of the survey in terms of number of donors reported – 818,163. Twenty-seven charities submitted data, just under a third of PFRA’s active membership during the survey period. DARS was devised by Rupert Tappin and Morag Fleming in 2008 and is run by them for the PFRA using data provided by PFRA members. Rupert Tappin concludes: “DARS is groundbreaking stuff. No other form of fundraising reports its attrition the way we do and the PFRA and its members should be proud that we are leading the world in this arena.”