Royal Society for the Protection of

As the largest conservation charity in the country, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is instrumental in ensuring the protection of wildlife and the countryside. Numerous examples of safeguarding species at risk of extinction by the RSPB include Ospreys, Red Kites and the Whitetailed Eagle.

The Bird is on the Wing

In the early 1900’s Red Kites were extinct in most of the UK with a low number isolated to Wales. The remaining birds were carefully protected and slowly began to increase in number following the Second World War. In 1989 a plan to reintroduce the birds was established to ensure the species’ survival in Scotland, England and Wales. By 2003 Wales had in excess of 400 pairs and Red Kites can now be seen majestically hunting around Snowdon by the thousands of tourists attracted there each year. Scotland and England now have a sustainable population and the reintroduction programme successfully saved the species. AFD’s Bradford-based team even report seeing them flying around Leeds! This is just one example of the many vital projects undertaken by the RSPB.

Since its inception 130 years ago, the society has grown to over a million members, whose regular donations support the RSPB’s vital work in “giving nature a home”. It’s therefore essential that there are no barriers to members wanting to join and donate. AFD Software has provided bank validation software to the RSPB for the past 17 years. One of our team (an RSPB member himself!) caught up with the organisation to discover the importance of bank data accuracy during the signup process of new members.

“We use AFD’s BankFinder solution online as part of the new member onboarding process,” says Melissa Werry, Application Development & Support Manager.

“We have to ensure that our systems are not a cause of failure when an individual is completing a membership application. To facilitate this, our systems have been designed to make that initial joining experience as smooth and pain-free as possible.”

In describing how the software prevents inaccurate payment details being entered, Hilary Mackenzie, Manager within the Supporter Data Management Unit continues: “When bank details are entered incorrectly or the account being used does not allow direct debits, a popup message appears notifying the prospective supporter that the entered combination of sort code and account number is invalid. Introducing an error is very easy to do, especially when reading an account number and sort code from a card and typing them in.

Although it may be awkward initially when a potential member is alerted that their bank details are invalid, they are able to resolve the issue instantly as opposed to failing the signup process, receiving an email or a follow-up call and being told there is an issue with their direct debit.

There are a number of reasons people drop out of the sign-up process which we monitor; luckily the bank validation software ensures payment details are not one of them.”

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