For the past twenty years we, as fundraisers, have been telling ourselves, our boards and our donors that the length of the average face-to-face donation is five years. In 2017, for the first time in my career, a body questioned this statistic as it was being used as a justification for agency pledge fees.
My math shows that the 5-year estimate is a little out of date. With year one attrition hitting the 50% mark in Australia, our average LTV has been hit substantially. Naysayers may wish to jump on the anti-F2F bandwagon with this fact, but that would be a little premature.
A return of 2.9:1 is still better than a kick in the teeth, and this figure is based on $32.50 average gift without an upgrades campaign.
There is still a lot we need to do to stop this ratio from worsening. The attrition rate in the first six months of most campaigns is still deplorable due to a mix of poor-quality donor recruitment, high-pressure sales tactics and targets, and, as suggested in March 2017 by Daryl Upsall in an IOF blog, an unsustainable focus on more volume from our charity clients rather than other metrics such as LTV.
So, it may not be as easy as agreeing to switch our emphasis from quantity to quality overnight by lowering our volumes, as we need our fundraisers to change the way they work so that we are not just recruiting smaller numbers of low-quality donors.