The hard truth is that sometimes agencies provide poor quality donors. I’m sure that this is not a practice that always has menace aforethought, but it can and will happen. Whether the regular giving donors were signed-up from very low socio-economic areas, are too young, or under confused circumstances, occasionally you will need to have some tough conversations with your agency. What is certain is that your agency should suffer from the poor attrition, not your organisation.
Clawbacks or reasonable rebates are you first line of defense against this, but you should always report any complaints from donors back to your fundraising partner. If you hear any of the usual suspects like “they said it was a one-off donation” or “nothing would start until I received a phone call”, you should inform your agency as soon as possible as they want to know about this as much as you need to tell them. All reasonable agencies will refund fully fees paid for donors who report these issues to you.
Let me be clear, any negative outcomes of poor attrition results should land squarely on the shoulders of your agency – however, poor attrition reporting is just as bad and is all your fault.