Donor Loyalty… The answer to our problems????

Now more than ever, spurred by the negative scrutiny of fundraising in the UK at the minute, many are hailing the need for proper relationship fundraising, the need for listening to and nurturing our supporters and to focus on retention and a two -way conversation – rather than pushing out one -way messages that alienate our supporters.  

At P&B we’re firmly in the Pro-‘Donor Relationships’, Pro-‘Donor Loyalty’ camp . Below I repost a blog from 3 years ago which I feel is timely to republish; when the public complain about the frequency of charity communications could it be because all our communications are the same, that we are always asking for money and that communications are always about us???  Well, as we said a while back,  there is a different approach.

Sorry if you’ve already read this – it is our most read and shared blog of all time after-all. Which begs the question: why aren’t we all doing more of this type of fundraising?!

Donor Loyalty: Raising Money without Even Asking for It 

Few can argue with the fact that loyalty is important. In the UK, depending on how they are recruited, up to 40% of new monthly givers will lapse within months of signing up. Attrition rates have never been so high

Couple this with the fact that donor recruitment is ever more challenging and expensive and many charities simply can’t recruit donors as quickly as they are falling off the file. We are facing the very real threat that donor bases and income will start to shrink.

The sector really must move on from talking about ‘driving loyalty’ and start doing it. We must hang on to the donors we work so hard to recruit.

The concept of actively driving loyalty is nothing new, the likes of Sargeant and Burnett have been producing brilliant research and theory on this for years. And you only need to look at the commercial world and witness that they shifted from a focus on single transactions to relationship and loyalty marketing as far back as the 80’s

Increased loyalty will not only reduce attrition but drive commitment, increased response rates, average values, multiple engagements, and legacies. Sargeant calculates that

A 10% increase in donor loyalty today would enhance the lifetime value of your fundraising database by up to 200%!

But how many of us are doing much more than a bit of stewardship: sending the odd thank you letter and an annual newsletter?

Studies show it costs ten times as much to recruit a new donor today as it does to retain an existing one. So why isn’t this reflected in the way we spend our resources and allocate budgets? It would seem the sector is failing to really focus on retention and instead we are just increasing how much we spend on recruiting each new donor. But what else can you do?

We could take some lessons from the commercial world.

Let’s look at the phone for example;

A whopping 38% of all outbound calls made by commercials are either loyalty or customer satisfaction calls. In the NFP sector such calls account for less than 1% of outbound activity!

In the commercial world products are consumer led, driven through customer insight, surveys and research. I’m pretty sure the brainwave that was Direct Debit giving wasn’t born from a huge rush of supporters demonstrating a real desire ’to give regular reliable donations’ or a need to show how ‘committed’ they were. In fact, when we talk to donors about giving in this way many still fall into the trap of talking about why direct debits are so good for the charity.

Another thing the commercial world does very well is the use of Risk and Reward. If I don’t use my Air Miles Sept 2013 I lose them. If I shop with Sainsbury’s again before next Monday I will get £10 off my weekly shop. Where’s the hook to get people donating again? Who really cares and will anyone really notice if I cancel my gift?

Finally, while the rest of the world is already embracing multi-channel integrated communications and interacting with their consumers our fundraising teams are still working in silos, and our donor communications and ‘journeys’ are pre-determined even before they sign the dotted line, regardless of their preferences and interests.

I could go on and on. In summary there is so much more we could do. We need to measure how donors feel about their support; we need to make it easy for them to give (and no that doesn’t just mean Direct Debit); giving needs to be rewarding and fun; we should acknowledge and reward loyalty; we should offer supporters more control and choice in their giving; we need to listen to our supporters, interact with them; we need to build trust and prove impact; and service should be impeccable.

Later in the month I will explore this further and share with you our approach to ‘Loyalty Calls’ – something which we are finally starting to see charities invest in.  These calls produce a year 1 ROI of 3:1 and you don’t even have to ask your donors for a thing! One client is generating £1,000 net income per 100 contacts without asking for a single penny!

If you want to know more about donor loyalty email info@pellandbales.co.uk with a short message and ‘ donor loyalty’ in the subject header and we’ll get back to you!

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Bethan 

Pell & Bales leads sector by launching code of conduct to raise standards in the industry

Our code of conduct, written in compliance with existing IOF and interim FRSB recommendations sets out clearly the ways in which we meet and exceed all current industry regulation. We are committed to improving the integrity of the fundraising industry by investing further in rigorous processes and internal controls and urge others to do the same.

At Pell & Bales we take precautions that many in the industry do not to ensure that existing donors and potential donors are treated with the utmost respect and most importantly that vulnerable people are protected.

Our code of conduct is divided into clear areas of focus which ensure that we continue to lead the industry in fundraising conduct:

  • Regulation, Compliance and Best Practice – adhering to all standards and guidelines, exceeding requirements to set industry best practice
  • People – we will always employ the best people who are passionate about fundraising, acting with humility, respect and empathy. We also pay the most in the sector to ensure we attract the best people and reward call quality as a metric
  • Training and Standards – we will always provide the best quality of training and development to ensure our staff meet and exceed industry standards
  • Supporters and Donors – treated with respect and safeguards in place to ensure vulnerable people are protected
  • Strategic Partnership Approach – working with our clients: helping them to deliver the highest quality sustainable fundraising in the sector

In addition to holding ourselves to the highest standards of ethical behaviour we also believe that our clients will want to sign up to our new code of conduct.  The industry and wider fundraising sector must improve its regulation and this cannot be done without the help and input of charities themselves.

We’d love to hear your feedback, if you’d like to discuss our code of conduct please email pr@pellandbales.co.uk with ‘code of conduct’ in the subject header.

To download our full code of conduct click the link here : P&B Code of Conduct Issued 16th July 2015

We’re recruiting…

We’re looking for a passionate, world class Account Manager to join the growing team at our London HQ.

You will manage a portfolio of charity clients large and small, including many of the UK’s favourite charities, supporting them across a diverse range of programs from Acquisition, Loyalty and Legacy fundraising and anything in between.

With over 20 years experience and our first £BILLION for charity under our belt, new team members can expect to experience unrivalled development and career progression working within a forward-thinking, innovative environment. Don’t take our word for it –  check out all these fabulous people that all started their careers here with us– we must be doing something right!

The lucky candidate will find themselves working in a true fundraising environment full of passionate people dedicated to innovation and excellence. This makes working at P&B a fun, buzzing, dynamic, sometimes crazy but ultimately rewarding place to work.

If you have fundraising and client servicing super powers to share, are passionate about changing the world, thrive when working in a fast-paced environment and are a strong team player then drop me a line at info@pellandbales.co.uk with ‘Account Manager London’ in the subject line and we’ll send you more details about the role and how to apply.

We’re on a mission to save the world here at Pell & Bales and now you could be part of it too.

Closing Date: Midnight – Friday 7th August 2015 

 

We’re also looking for a new temporary Research Project Manager to join our London team.

The ideal candidate will be a whizz on excel, enthusiastic, organised, analytical with great attention to detail and be confident to lead on the delivery of some exciting sector wide projects!

The role will involve logistical preparation of the project, management of communications to over 60 UK charities, management of a database, quantitative and qualitative analysis and inputting of data from multiple communications using a unique framework and general project management

The role will give the successful applicant a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the key drivers in loyalty and engagement

To apply drop us a line at  info@pellandbales.co.uk with ‘Research Project Manager’ in the subject header and we’ll send you a full JD and person specification.

Closing Date: Midnight – Friday 7th August 2015 

 

Good Luck! 

 

We’re recruiting for …

… a stellar Campaign Planner to come and work on several of our largest charity accounts. Could this be you?

It’s a very busy client facing role so you’ll need to be calm under pressure and have experience of fundraising, direct marketing or project management. You’ll also be a great communicator with strong project management analytical and time management skills.

So what will you be doing?
Responsibilities include managing the key processes to develop and deliver effective campaign strategies, leading and influencing client strategies through analysis plans and sector insight and evaluating final campaign performance to ensure learning is taken forward by the client and wider business.

Sounds great? 
If you have some or all of the experience above then great you’re definitely what we’re looking for! Ultimately though we’re on the look out for passionate, dynamic individuals that are inspired to design and deliver the world’s best fundraising campaigns for some of the UK’s best loved charities.

What’s it like at Pell & Bales?
With over 20 years experience and our first £billion for charity under our belt, new team members can expect to experience unrivalled development and career progression working within a forward-thinking, innovative environment. Don’t take our word for it – check out all of these great people that started their careers with us – we must be doing something right?

Get in touch?
Email info@pellandbales.co.uk with ‘campaign planner role’ in the subject header and we’ll send you a full JD and details of how to apply, closing date is Wednesday 8th July 2015 

We’re on a bit of a mission to save the world at Pell & Bales and now you could be part of it too.

 

Response to telephone fundraising press coverage

This morning P&B’s operations were subject to an article in The Sun covering telephone fundraising.

Despite the accusatory tone throughout the article it concludes “There is no suggestion Pell & Bales did anything illegal. Indeed, the company is scrupulous in instructing its employees to stick to acceptable practices”. We are deeply concerned about the way in which this article represents our employees and processes, taken out of context and portrayed with a cynically provocative spin. The fact that the Sun admits there is no wrongdoing on our part is testament to our training and coaching staff who are acknowledged in the industry for their excellent standards.    Pell & Bales refutes in the strongest possible terms any allegations or insinuations of wrongdoing; We work to guidelines set by the Institute of Fundraising’s Codes of Conduct and are a leading member of the Fundraising Standards Board.  We adhere to the IOF code and work to the standards of the TPS Assured scheme.

Pell & Bales is proud of its longstanding relationship with our clients and our track record in helping to raise money for some of the UK’s most worthy causes – over £1bn in the last 20 years. Our service provides a vital form of communication for charities and a key tool in keeping their supporters updated on campaigns and progress. Indeed we are in the process of driving proposals on regulatory changes to the sector which will root out inappropriate actions of the very few, which tarnish the good work carried out by the overwhelming majority.

The investment we make in training our people, treating donors fairly and ensuring compliance is adhered to, have validated our approach as the leading telephone fundraising agency in the industry with the highest quality standards. Pell & Bales is a sector leader in regulatory compliance and transparency and has a proven record of achieving the best results for our clients within these parameters. We take any attempt to tarnish this record very seriously and will be conducting a thorough review of options and potential legal recourse.

Emergency fundraising: four essentials

 

Nepal blog banner 20150428 (2)

Much of my work over the last year has been in the world of retail, famous for being fast-moving, dynamic, immediately responsive to changes in market conditions. Not for retailers the gentle pace of fundraising, the measured diet of monthly gifts and quarterly updates.

Until, that is, there is an earthquake.

Little more than a dozen hours after the first shock hit Nepal, the first appeal arrived in my inbox. Through the weekend, charities and their agencies were at work, belying the slow moving stereotype.

Over the years I have found my way onto many a charity database, as a supporter, business partner or interested observer. Checking email and text messages in the two days since news broke from Nepal led me to an unscientific survey of emergency appeals:

 

Nepal charities table picture 20150427

UNICEF were first, the only organisation to make its appeal to me on the same day as the news broke, followed on Sunday by Christian Aid and British Red Cross (the latter by text message).  Appeals from SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) and Tearfund arrived during Monday.

I make no claim that my survey is comprehensive: the fact that I did not hear from a charity does not suggest that they were not equally active, equally responsive to the need. But I was struck by what I found:

  1. Speed matters: it is possible to launch an appeal within 12 hours of the need arising, seven days a week: this is the new benchmark.
  2. A clear ask: UNICEF were very clear: “we urgently need you to send a gift of £35 to help the children of Nepal”. Others were less prescriptive, perhaps deliberately so: “give what you can”. Perhaps surprisingly, Christian Aid were more blunt: “donate today”. Some donation pages had gift amount prompts ranging from £10 to £115. No doubt prompt levels have been tried and tested and are different for different supporter bases, but the importance of a clear ask is indisputable.
  3. Make it meaningful: Tearfund and UNICEF made it very clear what each prompted amount could help them achieve, giving a clear sense of the tangible impact of each donation.

Prompt Nepal blog image 20150428 (2)

 

   4. Once may not be enough: media planners know that they have to give their audience multiple opportunities to see their message in order for it to have the desired impact. UNICEF have adopted a similar approach, emailing two further and increasingly urgent messages in the 48 hours since their original appeal.

If this simple exercise has reminded us of some fundraising essentials, it does not detract from the most important point: organisations are doing vital work to respond to emergencies in Nepal and elsewhere, and they need our support to enable them to do so. They are playing their part: now it’s our turn

Gary Hancock

Consultant

 

SMS: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single text

pell and bales

(with apologies to Lao Tse)

 SMS giving was the next “big thing” in fundraising a few years back. The channel has grown and evolved, it’s become a medium for regular giving, and it’s also started to challenge direct mail as the go to medium for attracting new donors.

It is a great way of attracting attention and raising funds, and has uncovered supporters who wouldn’t even open a cold mailing, let alone respond to one, and now almost a third of Britons use it to give. 

 They’re ready to go, so where are you taking them and how will you get there?

As telephone fundraisers we’re in the perfect position to take these new donors on the next stage of their journey. After all, if you’ve donated by text then giving you a call is the most natural way to get in touch and tell you more; but what are you going to talk to them about?

Now you’ve got their attention, what are you going to say?

As with any fundraising channel it’s important to remember that it’s not the medium, it’s the message. So, are we getting our messaging right?

In the creative team at Pell & Bales we thought we’d start putting this to the test by texting into appeals and then analysing the follow up calls. It’s a great chance to hear theory put into practice, it helps us to refine our approach and puts us in the donor’s shoes. We received calls from two well known international development charities, represented by two different agencies. The calls were well delivered, but one charity’s message engaged us in a way that that the other ones didn’t.

I’m talking, why aren’t they listening?

They’re both great causes, they both do great work, and they were both represented by passionate, articulate fundraisers. So where did one succeed and the other one fail?

We put on our thinking caps and came up with a short list

  • Pick up the story where the advert left off – this may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how much charity communication is disjointed, so make sure you establish a connection to the appeal early on in the call. They say that “A picture’s worth a thousand words”, so reconnect them with the image they responded to and you’ve just saved yourself a lot of talking. But do consider the next point.
  • Don’t put the donor on the spot – so, what about that advert made you respond? Can you remember?- chances are they can’t (we couldn’t and we were actively trying to remember the details), and they’ll feel awkward if you ask them, so instead, lead them by the hand- “your support helped provide warm clothes for a little boy like the one you saw in the appeal.” Now they remember the advert and you can start asking questions and building rapport.
  • Keep it relevant– they’ve texted in response to a 30 second TV ad or a poster with a few lines of text, so how will they respond if you give them a long spiel unconnected to the image they first saw? Reconnect them with the appeal and make sure you keep your story and your asks linked to the same theme.

All of the above may seem obvious, but the calls we received suggested that as a sector we still need to work harder at engaging donors in a way that’s as meaningful for them as it is for us.

Spenser

Creative Manager