blog banner
Interview with Rupert Tappin, MD, Future Fundraising

Interview with Rupert Tappin, MD, Future Fundraising


We’re here with Rupert Tappin, MD of Future Fundraising, one of the face-to-face companies. Rupert, tell us more about Future Fundraising and the services it provides. Hi Howard. Sure. Future Fundraising, we’re a project management basically consulting, specialises in face-to-face and door-to-door fundraising. We’ve been going for about five or six years now and we specialise in signing people up on the street and on the doorstep to regular giving direct debits, and we differentiate ourselves in the market place by sort of focussing on the quality side of it. So we basically place as much emphasis on acquisition on signing the donors up. We place as much emphasis on that as we do on the retention of the donors as well so all the clients we currently work with we basically work as much on the analysis of best use of basically who is paying the charity who isn’t paying the charity and we actually focus on the income coming in to the charity as a result of the donors we sign up and we help do reporting and training for our clients on that basis which is lovely sort of graphs and pie charts and just basically analyse what face-to-face, door-to-door is all about which is recruiting new people to support charities and basically the bottom line donating, you know, giving the money, to raise the money. You focus very much on modelling and statistics and analysis and in particular, retention. Tell us more about the research you’ve commissioned on retention rates. Yes, well, it’s more, rather than sort of our research, it’s more kind of the PFRA type we do through the PFRA, the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association self-regulatory face-to-face and door-to-door. That was basically, I’ve been on the board of the PFRA for several, for a few years now and so has Morag Fleming who’s the head of fundraisng at xxxxxxx and I got sat down with Morag and I said, OK, right, how do, you know, it became evident that charities wanted some form of benchmarking. You know. If we’re going to invest this much money in face-to-face, door-to-door we need to be able to show to our professional panel, trustees, whatever, you know, this is the predicted income. We need to be better at modelling that income and better understand the kind of drop out rate. Because it’s cold acquisition. You get cancellation and attrition rates from any form of cold acquisition fundraising, across the board. But it’s about knowing what that might be and how to model it in and be able to better predict your sort of long term income and return of investments is critical so because charities measure attrition in so many different ways. You know, they measure it by some group it by month of signing up, some people group it by month of cancellation, the month the donor has, some people group it by percentage expressed with the previous month’s donors so, you know, that’s kind of, you know, percentages, it’s meaningless. because some other charities express all their monthly percentages as a percentage of the total numbers of donors signed up. Really what Morag and I did is say OK what do charities know? They know about who is paying them. Who’s made payments. And therefore who hasn’t. So we asked charities last year through the PFRA we asked them to basically tell us, how many donors they’ve signed up, answering on the doorstep, in 2004 and 2006 and then we said, OK how many made a payment in month one then? How many made payment in month two? How many donors made three payments? That kind of stuff. And then from that we can work out unequivocally, because all charities know who’s paid them and how many payments they’ve made. Everyone knows that. So we use that data we subtracted one month from the other month ie we worked out the cancellation rates were by default, definition of people who didn’t make payments. That’s so universal it’s comparing apples with apples, perfect comparison there and for the first time last year we produced this benchmark set of attrition figures which basically allowed us on street and door fundraising to say OK, all the charities are similar to their data and this is 30 charities, it was 80 campaigns because it was 2004-2006, it was xxxxxxx. We had 377,000 individual donors and their payment histories. That’s over a third of a million people which was, you know, I think that’s you know, a world first. And it just produced some brilliant data, brilliant page mining data. Now we’re starting to look at that we can now start to compare that year on year. But we’ll be going back out in March time to everyone that took part and in fact anyone that’s ever done a face-to-face or door-to-door fundraising in the past 10 years, we would love them to take part to, we’re going to ask them very simply again, give us a campaign from 2006 2007, potentially 2008 and just basically how many donors did you sign up, if you know and how many made one payment, how many made two, how many made three, how many made four and then we’re going to actually have some updated figures and at this year’s Institute of Fundraising convention which I think is the 6th, 7th, and 8th of July, I think we’ve got, Morag and I are doing a presentation on the 6th of, on the Monday, and we’ll be actually analysing these all the charities get anonymised so no charity identified by name at all. You know, there’s no agencies identified obviously either. It’s all very much anonymised but it’s about benefiting the sector. And we’ll be producing the sort of, the latest benchmarked attrition figures and we can, for the first time really, ever, see the impact of a recession, economic climate, on regular giving, because of course the previous recessions we never had regular giving at this level, it didn’t really exist, early 90s, 70s, so, you know, we should be seeing some fascinating findings coming out. Additionally as well, this year, we’ve actually had some further analysis conducted by Professor Adrian Sargeant. He used to be at the Bristol Uni, Bristol University and he’s now over in the States, Indianappolis, and basically he did some research of the last year’s PFRA attrition survey and what we did with him was we got him to look at all the attrition rates from the campaigns but we xxxxxx attrition rates and we actually asked the charities to tell us what they did with the donors after they were signed up by the agencies basically, or in-house operations. There may very well have been some in-house operations in there. And then what Adrian then did then is he analysed the effect of each independent variable, on attrition, so when I talk about independent variable, I mean things like what did the charities do? Did they welcome call the donor or not? Did they send out a newsletter? If they did send out a newsletter was it customised? Or was it just a generic, you know, standard newsletter that all direct mail donors get? Did they send out an e-newsletter? Customised or non-customised? Did they send out like a welcome email? What else? We talked about welcome calling, did they do an upgrade ask? If so, when did they do it? Those are the key sort of critical, those are the differentiators, that different charities do with their face-to-face, door-to-door greeted donors. Any xxxxxx donor. And what Adrian can do, he can actually used some fantastic whizzy dizzy software and he basically threw out these, he created thousands upon thousands of theoretical models based on that and he for the first time modelled out the effect of all these variables on attrition he actually modelled out the significance of each of those independent variables. So how significant was the welcome call? And how significant was the fact that it was customised or non-customised in newsletters? And we readied a press release just a couple of weeks back the fact that, you know, customising newsletters out is, it will give you the best donor loyalty best retention, and also you’re best communicating between three and eight times per year. You know, if you do it once or twice, so the good old myth, that, you know, don’t communicate with your regular donors because you’ll remind them of, they’ll think, oh I didn’t know I was doing that, I’ll cancel it. That myth has once and for all been blown out of the water and it’s the first time that, you know, it’s kind of common sense, I think it’s the first time we’ve ever had, we’ve ever had physical hard evidence in terms of people that are paying, or didn’t pay charities and what those charities did and what kind of influence has that had on attrition. So Morag and I will be having, will be Adrian’s report has fascinating findings on the impact of active upgrade calling, which has a significant effect on attrition, also the impact effect of the welcome calling which has an effect on a certain part of the timeframe that a donor sort of gives to a charity. You know, and various other sort of impact of other data. Morag and I will be releasing more of that findings from Adrian’s absolutely fascinating report at the. Institute of Fundraising convention in July as well. Thank you Rupert. Where can we find out more about Future Fundraising and all this research? Well, basically our website is www.futurefundraising.co.uk and in terms of the ongoing research anyone is more than welcome to email me, if they want to, or Mick Aldridge, chief executive of the PFRA or Morag Fleming, welcome to email me [email protected] for a copy of the presentation that we gave last year and we’ll be press releasing the updated xxxxxxx attrition survey so we’d love as many of your, you know, charity charities that are xxxxx xxxx we’d love for as many of them to take part in submitting their data so we can really improve this benchmarking on attrition and help charities to basically plan for the future, for robust income from face-to-face and door-to-door media. Rupert Tappin, thank you very much. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *