Truly Ethical Fundraising — More than just an acquisition

As I write this we approach the beginning of another charity financial year well for 90% of charity clients REAL works with.

Inevitably this means that campaign targets, schedules, kpi’s will rightly need to be discussed. As important as these metrics are can we really count a donor simply as a number on a spreadsheet? Does a campaign get decided purely on a Cost Per Acquisition? We’re a long way gone from the days of commoditisation of donors but there’s always the risk that campaigns can be judged that way. What actually goes in to recruiting a donor at a leading ethical fundraising agency?

The expertly trained influence of at least 14 people directly contribute to delivering one donor to a charity client. The process is so finely tuned that without any one of these people risk would be introduced to the process and the sign up quality would suffer.

  • Let’s start at the start, the contract, compliance, due diligence, best practice, company culture, award accreditations (all the things that set the framework for ethical fundraising) and onboarding, the Director.
  • Campaign setup, bespoke materials design, electronic mandate design, onboarding, support & collaboration, weekly reporting, insight from the field, direct messaging from client to field and back, campaign management to improve KPI’s. The Account Manager.
  • The data spec, the campaign exports, date security, database management, bespoke exports, data flows, ANL preparation, source codes, invoices, reporting setup & much more. The Data Manager.
  • Designing the campaign materials, collaborating the brand guidelines and the art work, creating bespoke banners, pods, digital screen artwork and ensuring the charity looks great in every interaction. The Designer
  • Looking after the most important ones off all, the best practice, REAL Living Wage, policy design and implementation, Peer to Peer support, Welfare, Ethnicity & diversity group, women’s advocacy group and LGBTQI+ group. The HR Manager
  • Advertising for ethical, value aligned individuals, interviewing, questioning those values, ensuring that always people who represent the causes are the right ones. The Recruiter
  • Campaign training, fundraiser training, compliance training, the video training library, charity training, lottery training, telephone training. The Training Manager
  • Ensuring that every fundraiser is on brand, materials are correct, tablets are fully functioning, banners, pods, marquees are delivered and ready to raise work with. The Admin Team
  • Site planning & booking, territory management, demographic profiling, capacity planning, teams management. The Coach
  • Team management, on site risk assessments, compliance, training, supportive management, dialogue troubleshooting, compliance training, The Manager
  • Being compliant, being an activist, being inspirational, being the best they can be every second, The Fundraiser
  • Delivering peace of mind to the entire team, the client, protecting the brand reputations of multiple stakeholders, shining a light on fundraising excellence and demonstrating the immeasurable good f2f interactions have, The Auditor
  • Speaking to donors who are over 75 to protect vulnerable persons, investingating data anomalies in both the Welcome Call and Donor Data, supporting best practice and rewarding excellence. The quality control officer
  • There’s no feedback forms here we speak to over 60% of all the donors we recruit, receiving invaluable feedback and delivering it instantly to field based managers via company comms, identifying training issues before they become complaints, gathering data on fundraiser quality, performance, PPE Compliance and much more. The Welcome caller.

We wholly believe that having all these touch points on a donor and a campaign deliver the best quality. This speaks for itself in the fact that REAL have been having great conversations with donors on behalf of the UK’s leading charities for over 11 years now. We have seen and been a part of the transition and formation as public bodies close(FRSB), mergers happen(CIoF & PFRA) & regulators formed (Fundraising Regulator). We have played a part in shaping the way that long term donors donors(Street, Door & Private Site) are recruited for UK based charities for a decade.

The personalisation and the personal interaction that delivers the best donors from an experienced agency like REAL cannot be developed and cannot wholly be replaced with automations and technology. Does this mean that REAL are anti-technology? Of course it doesn’t REAL were one of the first UK agencies to offer tablet fundraising in 2013, one of the first to offer Cards & Apple Pay in the face to face market for regular giving, REAL works with the leading acquisition platforms in the UK to ensure that donors are always recruited the best way possible, have invested in a cloud based scaleable call centre to not only growth but to allow remote working for fundraiser safety. We are the first to utilise leading video messaging platform to deliver welcome & retention messaging to donors who we inspired to sign up.

However, not everything can be replaced with technology;

It could be the additional training someone needs to help them with their dialogue that an app can’t offer due to differing learning styles;

a supportive coaches call when the the most resilient fundraiser loses motivation;

or a gut feeling during a welcome call that a donors just not comfortable with a certain gift level, or could be likely to cancel before the 2 year minimum;

The REAL Family will always be here for charities, whether it be Telephone, Digital or Face to Face, our family’s sole purpose is to embody our values of Respect, Ethics, Activism & Love into every personal touchpoint we have on a donor journey to maximise the return for our clients, thus ensuring that they continue doing as much of the vitally important work they can.

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