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Abstract

  • Donor attrition is costing charities a fortune. Previous research has examined the relative importance of the antecedents to donor loyalty versus lapsing. This study qualitatively builds on this. It reports the results of workshops and interviews that took lapsers and donors back through their donor and lapser journeys. It drills down into and unpacks their experiences—inclusive of the (previously undocumented) lapsing experience itself. It reveals striking similarities between the cancellation of a direct debit and other more conventional purchase decisions. Most worryingly, it seems that most people stop supporting a given charity because they had never really had any loyalty to it in the first place. Charities are not meeting people's needs as donors. There is a distinct lack of understanding between charities and their donors, and donors are lapsing because charities give them little reason to stay. The authors conclude with practical recommendations for the management of attrition.

Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.