Why we need to give supporters more control over their payments

Why we need to give supporters more control over their payments

Guest Bloggers | 2 July 2018

Recent years have seen a raft of new contactless and digital payment technology evolve to become fast, easy and convenient to suit today’s increasingly time-poor consumer. Adoption continues to rise and it’s clear that people are seeking out payment methods that work with their busy lives and variable finances, and this is just as true for charity supporters.

Research backs this up: the 2018 UK Payment Markets report, published by banking trade body UK Finance, reported that debit card payments recently overtook cash use for the first time, while the IoF’s response to the recent Government consultation on cash and digital payments in the new economy showed that the majority of charities are expecting to see the proportion of cash gifts continue to fall over the next five years.

Paying by debit cards and direct debits is the norm in the mind of the British consumer, but how people go about it is evolving too, with more people setting up payments online or via mobile while on the move.

With a shift towards more flexible working and entrepreneurial career choices in the modern gig economy, income doesn’t always follow such predictable patterns. And so, we need to make sure that we are meeting supporters’ needs and offering them greater choice and flexibility in how they give, by offering alternative – and of course cost-effective – methods of payment, whether contactless or online. This is particularly important when it comes to regular giving.

Recent Rapidata research carried out to better understand what supporters want in terms of managing their donation payments, underlines this. It shows that people would like more control over their payments on a monthly basis, with the majority (74%) saying they should be able to control their payments each month. The research also highlighted that more than four in 10 respondents (44%) had previously taken the decision to cancel a direct debit payment in order to reduce their monthly outgoings.

What would it mean if charities were to offer greater flexibility to supporters, enabling them to increase their donations, take a payment holiday or skip a payment during tough times? Giving supporters more choice rather than simply the default option to pay or cancel donations, could help them manage their outgoings depending on when they’ve been paid or on how much they’ve spent that month. This in turn could reduce attrition and ultimately lead to more engaged, more satisfied and more loyal supporters who feel they are in a more balanced relationship.

If you really want to put supporters’ wishes at the forefront of fundraising, this has to include the payment process and experience. Supporters’ circumstances will often change and they will need to make changes to their charitable giving. Offering some flexibility over their giving like reducing the monthly amount (or increasing it too, of course) may in the long run keep supporters on board and ensure those valuable regular gifts keep coming in.

With reducing attrition an ongoing challenge for many charities, anything that could help to reduce lost donors is worth investigating. At Rapidata, we are committed to providing services and experiences that enhance charities’ regular giving programmes. So, in response to the changes in the payments industry and our own research, we are launching an innovative new product, Control my Payment, which will put supporters in control of their payments with greater flexibility over how they manage their direct debits.


Scott Gray, CEO at Rapidata 


At IoF Convention 2018, Rapidata will be launching a report into UK payment changes and what this means for charities as well as its new  Control my Payment service


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