Why good stewardship is essential to charities right now

In these challenging economic times, charities need to be doing everything they can to cultivate their relationships with supporters. Here at QTS we advise on different campaigns which can achieve this – one of them being stewardship calling.

Stewardship is all about the way a charity communicates and engages with its supporters to ensure they have the best possible experience, aiming to foster a longer term relationship. And it can take many forms – the most common being communications by post and email, both channels which are relatively easy for the supporter to ignore.

Of course, we are going to advocate good stewardship by telephone – because unlike those one way methods of communication, it allows the fundraiser to tailor and personalise the conversation with the supporter, making it a far more meaningful experience.

Some charities might consider these calls as a ‘nice’ thing to do – but not essential, as they are not actually generating any income. Or are they?

So let’s pose the question – what do YOU think the ROI of a thank you call is?
(Jump to the end of this blog to find the answer!)

You might have heard these stewardship campaigns also referred to as churn campaigns – and via a new relationship with machine learning experts Dataro, we are now able to forecast the churn rate for our clients, sometimes known as the attrition rate – the rate at which supporters stop donating to a charity over a given period of time. Churn may also apply to the number of supporters who cancel or don’t renew a regular gift. The higher your churn rate, the more supporters stop donating to your charity.

But how do you forecast churn? Have a look at an earlier blog of ours which shows the methods Dataro uses to predict supporter behaviour.

A recent case study of a good stewardship/thank you/churn campaign which has produced outstanding results is one with a leading veterans charity:

We called over 1400 prospects on the charity’s behalf to thank them for their long or short-term support, and have a conversation on how their donations are making a difference to the charity.

Additionally it was an opportunity to research motivations for support, satisfaction levels with communications from the charity, and identify areas for improvements, as well as cover off Gift Aid if required.

The results were even better than the forecasts.

Dataro used their modelling system to predict where someone was 20 – 40% likely to churn, the actual rate of churn was 31.87%. The supporters who didn’t answer the call churned at the rate of 18.64% (134 donors lost). However, the supporters who did pick up the call churned at an incredibly low rate of 4.63%.

Chris Paver Chief Operating Officer at Dataro said, “This is one of the best Month 1 results we’ve ever seen. With 61 donors saved, this is already nearly 30% of the way to the target for the entire year. Over the next 18 months these donors are forecast to contribute £12,319 that otherwise would have been lost.”

And needless to say, the client was delighted!

Coming back to the ROI of a thank you call – here is the lowdown, in comparison to other types of calling. And it makes surprising reading:

  • Valex lead gen – £1.80
  • Reactivation – £2.10
  • Upgrade – £3.10
  • Thank you – £3.75

Stewardship calling definitely has a financial value – and we’d encourage charities to be considering this type of campaign as seriously they do their lead gen or their upgrade calling. The returns are significant – both financially and in terms of retention.

If you’d like to chat further about this, then do get in touch. And if you prefer to get your content by video, then have a look at this:

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