Monday 12 April 2010


I love Skype.

From video conference calls to one-line greetings, it offers great flexibility in keeping in touch.

This morning a friend Skyped the following one-line question...

"Tell me why I would or wouldn't spend some money on door-to-door"

I had just a couple of minutes so I fired off a quick reply. Between new job, new baby and new house, my blogging capacity is still limited so I thought I'd share it with you here - as I wrote it...

"Would: what you see is what you get (to use a photography analogy), i.e. you get the donors you pay for, guaranteed. And the lapse rates are well understood so you can play with Excel to good effect to produce a forecast.

Wouldn't: it has gone to the dogs, i.e. D2D used to be a route to good quality, low attrition donors, a) because it was new and b) because some providers still used a two-stage approach where a leaflet would be left so the donor could take time to make the decision. That yielded lower volume but very high quality.

So, would I or wouldn't I? D2D is now in F2F territory with regards to attrition and I don't think I could justify the low ROI. That said of course, if other acquisition channels aren't working, the pay-by-results nature of D2D may push the swingometer back."

Do you agree?

What would you have said?


Amanda said...

Really interesting post Matt! And I would agree with you generally. On the surface of it it isn't a great investment.

However, I think other things to consider include - whether the broader aim is something else i.e. to diversify your audiences or whether the behaviour of D2D people exhibit make them more likely to react to other asks that are priorities for your organisation like campaigning etc or even if they are a good prospect pool for a higher ask product, that yields a decent CPL overall.

Of course, there is also ways in terms of fulfilment and immediate welcome that can improve the retention rates amongst these supporters. So with all things considered it can't just be about the immediate returns.

Matt Parkes said...

Good point Amanda, thanks!

Mark Phillips said...

Amanda is absolutely right. By engaging donors immediately and showing them the impact of their gift we can slash attrition rates - from all recruitment techniques.

Luckily technology is working in our favour and we can bring donors much closer to our work at ever decreasing costs.

It can be a hassle, but by putting in the effort to feedback to donors we can generate step changes in short and long term income that will radically alter the way we think about all methods of recruitment.

Anna Walsh said...

Parkesy. To start with, you KNOW I will stand with both Mark and Amanda on this. So, yes absolutely to what they've said here - and their points put us in interesting times in terms of the opportunities available to us to build really, genuinely solid relationships with donors.

But something else that a lot of organizations don't consider for it's full implications is the difference in styles between providers. It's far too easy for us to think about year one; our costs, attrition guarantees and return - and for us to put them above and beyond everything else. We're incentivized to do so often enough in our fundraising departments.But this is dangerously short sited and doesn't use our knowledge of the technique.

I'm writing this on the fly and feel like I'm potentially not being at my most clear! So I'll try and finish on an example which will hopefully add a little clarity...

If your contract with your provider, for instance, involves paying for none of the donors who don't make a first payment, it's not always easy to know how many donors didn't make that first milestone. If you don't know that it hinders your ability to understand what is actually happening with your attrition rates. Can look great on paper, but less so when you're wondering where your donors are further down the line.

Like everything else, the answer is probably to get a little more engaged with the method...Let me know if I didn't actually get there with the clarity ;)

p.s. I would dispute that door and street are in the same league right now, too.

Matt Parkes said...

Thanks Anna - and Mark.

Still not 100% convinced but maybe I was a little harsh in saying D2D has gone to the dogs!

You'd have to show me the numbers!

Naomi B said...

a few more thoughts... it would depend on several variables:

would if the product had universal appeal (or geographical appeal), eg tsunami appeal or a local hospital;

but wouldn't if I needed to target a particular audience, eg modern opera, or muscular dystrophy.

would - if there was added value - eg collecting data about what else motivates people, or if we could use to test perhaps a few different adverts to see which one works best before a big print run.

would - if there was a need to get our name 'out there' and raise the brand;

but wouldn't if it was felt that this would demean the brand in any way.

Speaking personally, I sometimes sign up just to get rid of people hassling me, but often feel annoyed afterwards. Are those the kind of donors one wants? I think more highly of charities etc that put their case forcefully, but allow me to choose how and when I participate.