REAL’s Return to Face to Face fundraising

A month in, how’s it going?

Note: This article has been updated to reflect data from a month worked.

It’s been eagerly anticipated, we have all heard the success stories from Europe and around the world and are ever thankful for the collaboration and the openness from agency and charity alike as to how they have found the return to face to face post COVID-19. (you can read about the international return in this article here).

I will aim to explore the questions on everyone’s lips.

  • How are the public receiving Face to Face Fundraisers?
  • Have you had complaints & are they COVID-19 related?
  • What is productivity like?
  • How are the fundraisers?

How did the restart look?

REAL Fundraising restarted with some select teams and Sub Contracting partners(70% REAL & 30% Partner). In the first month back we fielded over 600 fundraising shifts across street and door to door between Monday and Saturday. The split of these teams was 94% door and 6% street. REAL implemented the following quality measures and all teams were trained in these measures in the week prior to work commencing.


Across the company and our sub contracting partners, our approach to restart was not to unfurlough our best fundraisers first but to unfurlough in regions where they could safely work together in small teams according to our quality measures policy. This meant we had a variety of experience level from years/months to a couple of weeks restart from the first day.

Looking at overall productivity we saw similar levels to pre-COVID lockdown as an average, when we delve into the figures a bit closer we saw that experienced fundraisers performed better than pre-COVID and less experienced fundraisers performed worse than pre-COVID. We put this down to less experienced fundraisers taking a bit longer to adapt their skills to the new fundraising norms whereas more experienced staff are more well versed in overcoming challenges they face.

Public Perception.

  • Over the month we had approximately 134,400 interactions.
  • On 70.9% of shifts worked the fundraisers received positive feedback.
  • Our fundraisers scored an average of 9.85/10 when the donor was asked to rate the fundraisers’ professionalism and politeness during the welcome call.
  • 1% of the equivalent number of donors we recruited contacted REAL Fundraising directly through our website to offer positive feedback about a fundraiser. This is 8x the usual rate of
  • positive feedback from pre-COVID.
  • Donors rated the level of safety and PPE use at an average of 9.2/10 during the welcome calls.

Fundraisers scored the public perception out of 5 each shift. 92.6% of shifts scored between 3 and 5 out of 5 for public perception.

Positive Public Feedback

One of your fundraisers came to my door today and was very informative and convincing. Unfortunately, I’m currently unable to sign up but will now donate what I can afford online. Thanks!
Just wanted to say how much of a great job XXXX is doing, who knocked on my door earlier this evening. I wasn’t free, and he made sure to come back at a better time later in the evening. Very polite and friendly, really knowledgeable about the charity , I was really impressed. I wasn’t able to commit to a monthly donation but made a one off donation because of him. Also, thanks for making sure fundraisers have PPE!

70.9% of fundraisers received positive feedback throughout their shift

Feedback from Helen & Douglas House about our subcontracting partner Euphoric Fundraising;

Looking at our online single donations for last week we received £184 from donors who have received a visit from the fundraisers — donations from £10 to £50! Please pass on our thanks to the team.

Positive feedback from Twitter for fundraisers, charity & PPE.

Feedback from the Director of Strategy & Performance at a charity client;

I got a pleasant surprise this evening when XXXX rang my door bell — he tells me it is their first day back on door-to-door fundraising. Think he was just as surprised as I was.

  • Really friendly
  • Good knowledge of the Charity
  • Great use of PPE and social distancing (see picture below) — particularly like the sign that he put on the path.

Negative Public Feedback

Over the estimated 134,400 interactions that we have had across door and street, we are really disappointed to report that we did get 3 complaints, 1 on the street & 2 on the doorstep, we pride ourselves on our exceptionally low complaint rate but also passionately believe in owning our mistakes it’s in our nature to always strive to improve. The street complaint was for the fundraiser approach being overzealous rather than COVID related. Of the door complaints, one was for knocking during the pandemic and the second complaint was not related to COVID-19. Furthermore, on the doors, we had two instances of public criticism that was given to a fundraiser for fundraising at this time and 3 comments that although the distancing mats are useful they may be picking up more germs each time they are picked up and put down.

94.6% of fundraisers received no negative feedback during their shift

Fundraiser Feedback

Since our return, REAL has surveyed our field daily for their feedback after each shift, some of the stats are taken from this feedback.

Fundraisers scored every shift they worked out 5. 86% of fundraisers had a shift ranked between 3️⭐ ️to 5️️⭐(Average — Great)

87.7% of fundraisers had an average to amazing day ️(3 to 5 out of 5⭐️)

Positive Fundraiser Feedback

We’ve collated some examples of fundraiser feedback submitted in their daily summaries that represents some of the overall subjects we have received.

“Great to see people again. Nice to see the work starting again . Good to see all the PPE. Happy the charity are now having support. They’ve missed us.”
“Any least 5–10 people told me how great they thought the cause was and how much admiration they had for us being out.”
“Some feedback I got was that the people on doors felt safer with us wearing face shields and following government guidelines. Also, the public really liked being informed by us that we are following distancing guidelines and that we can still go ahead with the form while respecting social distancing.”


Fundraisers received a week of training sessions prior to restarting. However, daily feedback suggested that 16% needed more support through the week. The 2 main areas for concern were; the new sign up method, adapting to door to door interactions. Less experienced fundraisers indicated they needed more support changing the signup process to be completely touchless. We also had feedback that transitioning from one fundraising medium to another (most moved from street/ps to door) needed additional training. As a result of the feedback forms we were able to implement additional troubleshooting and support zoom training sessions for the donor capture method and door to door the day after the restart.

Negative fundraiser feedback

Whilst the overall fundraiser feedback was exceptionally positive 3 fundraisers fed back to us that they felt the floor mats get dirty so you get more germs on your hands and would prefer to just use the social distancing body branding and visor. 1 fundraiser stated the face shield was “too much PPE”. The remainder of the 9% related to the previously mentioned feedback from donors.

94.6% of fundraisers received no negative feedback during their shift

Mystery Shopping & Compliance Auditing.

REAL Fundraising are partner with Green Light Sites for all our auditing. They are conducting street mystery shops and audits and door to door compliance shadowing and QC checks. These are all conducted at a social distance and includes feedback on all COVID related safety measures as well as our standard audit criteria.


The month was overall a great success.

  • Productivity was at a level as pre-COVID.
  • On 70.9% of shifts worked the fundraisers received positive feedback.
  • 1.1% of the equivalent number of donors we recruited contacted REAL Fundraising directly through our website to offer positive feedback about a fundraiser. This is 16x the usual rate of positive feedback.
  • The fundraisers have thoroughly enjoyed their first week back. There have been so many positive stories and instances of positive feedback.
  • We had 1 complaint in approx 44,800 approaches.
  • The public appreciate that fundraising is back and welcome the conversations, the use of social distancing & PPE.
  • Positive feedback on the PPE and social distancing also from the Director of Strategy and Performance at one charity client.
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