REAL Partnership, the Living Wage & Employee rights
We’ve all probably seen by now the BBC show and article about direct sales agencies and the reportedly exploitative and unethical business and employment practices detailed within it.
This is not a new thing. We have seen similar stories from direct sales companies in Australia & Spain over recent years and many of the questionable practices detailed in the programme have been widely known in the industry for more than 20 years now.
As an activist organisation, we believe in speaking openly about changes we believe will help shape our sector for the better and in our opinion commission-only models and self-employed fundraisers on zero-hours contracts have absolutely no place in face-to-face fundraising.
We believe the whole sector should get behind a set of undeniably beneficial employment practices that offer greater transparency and ultimately protection to people who are interested in choosing a vocation in this sector. Would anyone really argue against for example that the nature of the job (including remuneration methodology) should be honestly and transparently described in the recruitment advert and interview? We all share in the damage when somebody leaves our sector due to feeling misled.
Charities can easily and quickly take steps to ensure all recruitment advertising is completely ethical and transparent. This would be a big step forward for the industry.
The desire to help create a better future for workers (and us all) in this sector, is reflected in REAL being a founding member of the
F2F Alliance and the Alliance’s similar stance on employment practices within F2F Fundraising.
REAL Fundraising does work with partner agencies (sub-contractors), however, our agreement and practices are very different to those highlighted in the recent news. All employees of all partners are ALWAYS paid the real living wage, paid on PAYE and on a contract. This ensures they have the employment rights a worker deserves and needs. This is explored in depth in the blog post Why REAL Partnership beats subcontracting every time.
In addition to these basic employment principles REAL only works with marketing agencies that display our core values of Respect, Ethics, Activism & Love. REAL take the diligence and onboarding of partner agencies incredibly seriously and if the value alignment is not in place from the very beginning then REAL would not continue with the partnership.
Our goal is to improve standards in the sector by helping support people and companies who share the right values to both enter and then thrive and therefore grow the sector with agencies who, for example, offer strong employment rights and protection to their staff. The Partnership model is our way of achieving this.
As an award-winning company for our culture and the first B Corp fundraising agency in the world and the second highest scoring B Corp in the UK, there is nothing we take more seriously than the preservation and constant improvement of our culture and ethical practices. This in turn protects our clients and consistently ensures we offer them demonstrable good governance and ultimately peace of mind. You can read more about this