Announcement from the CEO of Pareto Phone, Bruce Cotton

This announcement is made following an update sent by Rob Edwards, CEO of the FIA. The update was addressing the protection of vulnerable Australians and the role that all telemarketers have to play in this. If you have not received this letter you can view a copy of the CEO Update from FIA here on the Pareto website.


Dear Fundraiser

I want to let you know that Pareto Phone have been working closely with the FIA over recent weeks in providing information on our current telemarketing practices as well as our market data on the importance of the channel in helping Australian charities to fundraise in order to fulfil your mission. This is obviously an extremely important issue for all of us and we believe that our current processes, but, perhaps more importantly, Pareto Phone’s management culture is fully aligned to the protection of vulnerable donors and the delivery of high quality donor care.

In our opinion, the start point for avoiding risks in this area is to ensure that smart data suppressions are being applied to all Campaigns, and, at Pareto Phone, this includes our own “do not call” list which we have built-up over previous Campaigns when talking to your supporters and your prospects. As importantly, we focus considerable specialist resource on training and quality monitoring our telefundraisers which includes the recording of all calls. We also recognise that occasionally a call that we make isn’t up to the standards that we set and, so, we assess, record and feedback on the very small number of complaints that we receive so that we can learn from our mistakes and identify any trends or specifics that require action. We believe that these processes are essential to ensuring that we can deliver the best possible standards of donor care for your supporters.

The protection of vulnerable donors goes to the heart of what Pareto Phone believes in and we will continue to engage in this consultative process putting the case forward for the self-regulation of the industry within the existing legal frameworks. We do agree with Rohan Buettel that further legislation and, specifically, the reversal of the DNCR exemption would, indeed, be a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

If Rob’s update or my e-mail raises any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Regards Bruce Cotton CEO, Pareto Phone

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Benchmarking General Trends Report Launch, Melbourne

Register your staff to attend the Benchmarking General Trends Report Launch in Melbourne

The General Trends Report will be presented from 9am to 1:15pm.

Theatre 1 Melbourne Business School 200 Leicester Street CARLTON, VIC 3053

Are Millennials Really Worth Targeting for Fundraising?

We all want younger donors. But is it worth the investment?

Certainly it is for donors around the 40 year old mark – face to face (direct dialogue) has done really well there getting millions of people around that age to give. But what about younger?

The idea that by getting donors in early, we will make them more likely to support us later is not entirely flawed, but just stepping back and thinking about that logically, it breaks down.

Surely it would be easier to get the more valuable donors in NOW, and only go for the long term get ‘em in young when you have got all of the older ones in?


I suggest:

1.Look at your current donor database by age, you will likely see a stark correlation between age and every measure of success. Generally older donors tend to:

1. Higher ave donation 2. Higher second gift rate 3. Higher retention (especially in monthly giving) 4. Higher amounts raised (in events) 5. Higher chance of supporting an event again 6. Higher life time value a. Higher chance of putting you in their will 7. And higher chance of realising that sooner 8. Higher chance of becoming a major donor 9. Higher chance of responding to most of your communications

In regular/monthly giving the upwards trend tends to stop going up over 67/70 years old.

In cash / direct mail it doesn’t seem to ever stop going up.

And when you take that line to people below about 40 you begin to see that the Return on Investment over (say) five years is simply not worth the effort.

In other words – older donors are better.


One theory is that charities are simply not good at marketing to younger people.

I don’t believe this, because thousands of brilliant charities try all the time and fail, and have done for years with tons of ideas.

Maybe it is true – after all, before face to face charities had repeatedly tried and failed. But it seems the effort of finding the magic has wasted far too much charity time and money already.

My theory is a bit more simple, and shared with pretty much every fundraiser who has ever looked at demographic data as well as fundraising data:

The older you get, the more disposable income you have. Then, when you get REALLY old, some peoples disposable income may go down, but the asset in your legacy is still going up.

Should we write off young people then?

Not at all. They like purchasing cheap quick things, like Ice bucket Challenge (IBC).

But note, probably more than 80% of the revenue raised for IBC would have come from just 20% of the participants. And that 20% will be heavily represented by older participants.

In other words, they got loads of young people involved, but most of the actual $ will have come from people over 40 or 45. We see this in all events.

But having 8,000 young people to an event, effectively funded by 2,000 old people could have other benefits – for campaigning for example.

All fundraisers WANT young people to give. They really believe in it! I really wish it was so too! But wishing something were true doesn’t make it true.

In the table below, age of donors – across about 70 charities, where age is known, you can see there are some younger groups. But even within those younger groups (like face to face regular givers, averaging 43 years old) we see all of the points I made above still hold true.



The trend for all the other areas looks like that too.  i.e. older DM donors are better, as are older online donors etc.
And even in bequests from regular (sustainer/monthly) givers.
The chart below shows that older people communicated with by direct mail, including appeals are more likely to donate (there are more of them) AND they give more after their initial gift than younger ones.

Put simply, an average 75 year old paying by cheque will give over 7x their initial gift in 5 years, but a 35 year old cheque donor (of which there are not many) gives about 4 times as much.  A MASSIVE difference. And for credit cards, it is 7x and 5x, still a BIG difference when you consider how expensive and tight the costs of donor acquisition are.

In major donor giving… older is better.
On Facebook… Successful (fundraising) charities have profiles like this…

The bottom line:

There is no measure that I can find anywhere that tells a fundraiser that younger people are a priority over older donors.  The only time we need to go for younger people is after we have:
* Exhausted sources of older donors AND
* Following best practice with donor-centric and frequent communications with them AND
* We have a great mid value donor program AND
* We have a great legacy/bequest program AND * We have established a face to face sustainer/monthly/regular giving program (or can’t for some reason)
Only when we can tick all those boxes should we start mass marketing on a strategic level to younger people.
* Involving younger people is core to your mission.

Ruthann Richardson

Ruthann Richardson

Senior Account Director

Ruthann is a fundraiser with a passion for the donor experience, and how charities care for and service their donors. With more than 10 years fundraising experience, Ruthann has worked in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and has experience working across numerous channels. Ruthann brings insights and learnings from her experience working with dozens of charities around the world, including World Vision, RNIB, Unicef, the Red Cross, Cancer Council and Oxfam.

If you have an upcoming event and would like Ruthann to speak, please contact us.

Do you want younger donors!?

Everyone does. But if you are a fundraiser, despite everyone on your board and management wanting young donors, you know the facts.

You know that the younger a donor is they less likely they are to upgrade, cross sell, give a major donation, become a bequestor or stay with you.

Does that mean you should ignore them? Well: No. You also know that online giving is growing. You know that face to face is the number one source of regular givers – and their average is just 43.

How do you know?

You just read it here: But don’t take my word for it. Get the data for yourself for free if you register before the 22nd of January, 2016. Join Pareto Benchmarking.


Face to face is dying

Your board hate it, the press pick on it and so many lament the attrition rates.

But you know the truth.

Face to face acquisition numbers were up last year.

You know that nearly 83% of all new regular givers come from face to face and there are more than 27 charities growing their income dramatically.

You know attrition rates vary by charity from 36% in year one to 66%. You even know the five year value of a regular giver acquired by face to face is $730 (2008 recruits).

You know that non face to face donors are harder to get – but you know they are worth a lot more when you get them.

How do you know?

You read it here: But don’t take my word for it. Get the data for yourself for free. Join Pareto Benchmarking.

bm infograph


Blair Johnston

Blair Johnston

Campaign Executive

Blair JohnstonBlair recently graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Business Management and is new to the non-for- profit industry. He joined Pareto in early 2015 been with Pareto for just under 8 months and has thoroughly enjoyed putting to use some of the learning’s he attained during his degree.

During his time at Pareto he has provided assistance and driven a range of campaigns across multiple clients and is always eager to extend his knowledge further of the space. Blair enjoys working in an industry where Pareto, as an agency, can assist non- for- profit organisations in creating lasting change for their beneficiaries. Blair is an avid musician with percussion being his instrument of choice. He also enjoys traveling and has a particular interest in 35mm film photography.

Connect with Blair Johnston on LinkedIn.

Talia Rimmer

Talia Rimmer

Account Manager, Pareto Phone

Talia ReadTalia embarked on her fundraising career with Pareto Phone in early 2014, having come from a corporate background working as a legal secretary for a number of years before moving into business management and sales. Her interest in the charity sector has always been strong, and after having volunteering at an orphanage in Kenya in her early 20’s for over a year, territory management in the luxury retail world just didn’t have the same appeal.

Managing some of Pareto Phone’s largest and most long term clients, Talia oversees the smooth running of over 50 campaigns each year across 8-10 charities. The chance to assist some of Australia and New Zealand’s largest charities further their goals of improving the world we all share is something Talia truly values.

Although Talia may no longer be found exploring the open highways of NZ on two wheels, she enjoys keeping fit with a circuit training session, good food, and learning and experiencing new things.

Eliza Pedersen

Eliza Pedersen

Head of Client Services, Pareto Phone


Eliza Pedersen is a Head of Client Services at Pareto Phone. She has worked at Pareto Phone for over six years overseeing strategy, revenue and management of campaigns for over 40 charity clients.

Prior to starting at Pareto, Eliza came from a customer service and event background having worked with Emirates and the Gabba Stadium. Whilst working on her career she managed to travel extensively to over 45 countries and live overseas in London, Dubai and Greece. The position at Pareto spiked her interest and she jumped at the opportunity to work with some fantastic charities across Australia and New Zealand.

When not working, you will find Eliza either pottering in her garden, in the kitchen cooking up a storm or out with the girls at the newest wine bar.