FOUR PAWS is a global animal welfare charity which works across Europe, Australia and USA campaigning for animals to be treated with respect, empathy and understanding. Accepting regular donations from individuals and organisations by Direct Debit is an integral part of its fundraising, ensuring regular income to help fund its many campaigns and actions to help protect vulnerable animals.


A necessary switch

FOUR PAWS were previously collecting Direct Debit donations with another Direct Debit bureau. The bureau gave notice to FOUR PAWS due to a commercial decision made to only offer a service to organisations with their own service user number (SUN). The bureau gave the charity six weeks notice to find another bureau and migrate their payers. Any delay to starting collections with a new bureau was going to have a potentially negative impact on the charity’s donation collections, reducing their donation cashflow and possibly leading to donors cancelling their Direct Debit Instructions if there were any errors.  This was a situation which concerned Martin Dale, Head of Fundraising.

We found ourselves in a very vulnerable position when our previous supplier gave us notice of service. We had experienced the benefits of collecting regular donations by Direct Debit and wanted those to continue. We don’t have a huge resource in our background operations and so needed to find a solution to continue collecting donations which was as hassle-free as possible.


Switching to SmartDebit

The incumbent bureau recommended FOUR PAWS to contact SmartDebit, recognising that SmartDebit were in the best position to help FOUR PAWS to get set up quickly and to deliver the standard of service they needed. Recognising the speed required, the initial call with SmartDebit covered all of the main information needed for FOUR PAWS to assess the SmartDebit service offering and even included a full system demo to help team members feel assured that the switch to using the SmartDebit Pulse® portal for administration purposes was going to be easy to handle. The call also outlined all the steps needed to migrate payers to having their donations collected by SmartDebit.

Martin comments “Our initial contact with SmartDebit gave us full assurance that the switch could be completed, provided that the information transfer went smoothly and to time. We knew that our previous supplier was willing to work to those timelines, and SmartDebit were committed to working to get everything completed and migrated on time”.

As SmartDebit offers concessions to charities registered in England and Wales, FOUR PAWS could enjoy a 5% discount on listed fees, as well as saving on VAT.


Guaranteeing a regular donation stream for years to come

Despite the tight timeframes involved, SmartDebit successfully completed a bulk change for FOUR PAWS so their donors were informed of the change to their Direct Debit in accordance with Bacs scheme rules and by whom this would be collected as there was a small amendment to how this would appear on their bank statements. Collections were processed by SmartDebit on-time with no failed or missed payments, ensuring a continuity of donation income.

Our experience with SmartDebit was, and continues to be, fantastic. I would not hesitate to recommend SmartDebit to other charities looking for an easy switch to a company who go above and beyond to deliver a high-quality service.