Part 1: 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 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!


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 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.

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 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 1st October  2015