How to fix face-to-face fundraising

This graph shows face-to-face attrition, in the first three months, for an enormous UK charity.

It’s more than likely a very familiar, and frustrating, image for you.

In fact, it’s so familiar that a recent and extensive research project on face-to-face fundraising was unable to find a single charity that had significantly and sustainably changed this.

With one shining exception.

Last year, Amnesty International Belgium moved first six month retention from 60 percent to 80 percent. (Seriously, that’s not a typo!)

What did this improvement mean to them? An additional 240k Euros in year one for every 10,000 new supporters who signed up. It sounds like science fiction. But there’s no fiction, just science.

Specifically, the science of measuring and managing supporter experience.

It’s well known in the commercial world that a huge factor influencing the decision to stay or go has nothing to do with brand, marketing, cause etc. Rather it’s driven by the consumer/supporter’s experience, in the moment.

That’s why, in your experience as a consumer, you’re very familiar with being asked to give feedback. And you’ve probably experienced it as a supporter. Maybe you’ve even tried it yourself?

There’s certainly a vogue in our sector to better understand supporters. Which is great in principle. But without the right expertise, the practice is incredibly complex and costly. A growing number of charities have tried and failed to reverse the appalling attrition curve.

So how did Amnesty get it right where everyone else is getting it wrong?

If you’re in London on 16 February, they’ll tell you. And if you’re not, but would like to learn, their event will be recorded and free to download. For details of how to come along, or how to get your free download, just email me at

You’ll learn:

  • What quality measures are missing from your understanding of the business of face-to-face fundraising
  • How these new measures tell you who is leaving and why before it happens.
  • How it’s possible to combine the three data sources (recruitment, retention and quality) you need and make it usable and timely.
  • How it’s possible to customize donor treatment in the critical early days/weeks.

Detailed case histories from experts at Amnesty and DonorVoice will show you a different way to view fundraising, a world where quality and quantity are possible, along with practical tips like:

  • KPIs every charity needs but doesn’t currently have
  • How to change fundraiser training tomorrow to increase quality.

This event is entirely free and open, on a first-come, first-served basis, to anyone struggling to make face-to face, door-to-door and private site fundraising (in fact, any channel) work. To ensure you don’t miss your chance, just drop me a line at

PS. This year-long project by Amnesty marks a watershed in fundraising. There is no reason that, in 2017, any charity should see such appallingly high levels of attrition that most agencies sell as the norm. Smart charities always embrace an evolution in process. But an agency invested in the status quo will always resist. One very well known agency has already tried to exert its influence to block promotion of this event. Seriously! And another was outright aggressive toward a charity, saying that if they started to use this process they’d pull their campaign. Fortunately this charity was smart enough to assign risk to the status quo and refused to be bullied. As a character on “The West Wing” once said, “If they’re shooting at you, you know you’re doing something right”.






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