Most Australian face to face agencies report a 70% verification call success rate. However, this does not mean what you might think it does. It doesn’t mean that 70% of the pledges that have be exported to your charity have been verified.
This ‘success’ could be a text message that was sent to a mobile number because the caller couldn’t get hold of them, or it could mean that the caller got through to the voicemail where the recorded message confirms the identity of the donor. Common sense would state that neither of these are examples of verified donations, so why are we accepting this?
This is usually not the agency trying to pull the wool over your eyes, it’s merely a miscommunication of the importance of verification. Based on the flag left on the file for ‘successful call’, charities may alter their donor journey. The charity has assumed that this was a point of contact that was achieved and that the pledge sent is a high quality one that is likely to debit.
So, how do you defend against this confusion? Easy, be clear with your agency and don’t allow that box to be ticked until the donor has confirmed their name, date of birth, three contact points, long term commitment (24 month or 36 eh Mark), and their bank details. Ask for call recordings, sit-in on their calls, and question any results you receive. Or, even better, if you have the budget and more importantly can transfer the data quick enough, get a third party to call as they won’t have the same KPIs as the acquisition agency.
A couple of agencies have made the move to ‘verification at acquisition’. This can return 100% verification, but it is still worth hiring another agency or use in-house if you have the capacity to Welcome Call each and every one of these donors as a Welcome Call once the dust has settled is very different to a verification call whilst the fundraiser is stood there with them guiding their answers.