Donor loyalty to charities remains strong, latest direct debit data suggests

The cancellation rate for direct debit donations to charities is at record low levels, regular donor figures have revealed.

The figures have been released by Rapidata, the charity payments arm of the Access Group, and show that between May and September the direct debit cancellations rate was consistently under 2%.

A record low rate of 1.32% was recorded in July this year, compared to 2.45% in July 2019.

This follows an initial jump in cancellations in March when the first Covid-19 lockdown began.

Regular online donations are also up, as supporters adapt to charities pivoting their fundraising online amid the pandemic. There was a 37% increase in online regular giving from May to September, compared to the same period last year.

But while charities are retaining regular donors, the research suggests they are struggling to attract new supporters. The volume of new direct debit sign ups dropped by 26.6% between May and September, compared to the same period in 2019.

Scott Gray, Rapidata lead and head of payments for The Access Group, said: “While the very low cancellation rates of the past few months can be largely attributed to lockdown stalling donor acquisition activity – because we know the majority of cancellations happen immediately after sign-up – more positively it also shows a steady trend that committed supporters are continuing to give to the causes they care about.”

The findings are revealed in Rapidata’s report Regular Giving Update and Recommendations: Autumn 2020.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Dan Fluskey, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising head of policy and external affairs said: “Donor loyalty can never be taken for granted however but needs to be earned. Over recent years we have seen a real focus from charities in developing supporter relationships.

“This latest research shows not only that this work is now paying off, but also how vital it will continue to be for encouraging and retaining regular giving support as we traverse the challenging months ahead."

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