Why Values based, ethical & the employed model of fundraising creates sound piece of mind for Charities.
As many will have now seen, the Telegraph has written a piece about door-to-door fundraising publishing it online and in their print edition.
Without passing comment on any specifics of the article I think it is important to reflect on what good fundraising practices look like and how we can continue to build the reputation of face-to-face fundraising in the wake of the past incidents referred to in it.
REAL works around the clock every day, and has done so for the last 13 years to ensure that we meet our stated aim of being the exemplar for the highest standards in the industry. We see one of our core responsibilities as ensuring our clients enjoy peace of mind while working with us and that they understand that their good governance is our first priority.
Please join me as I give you a guided tour through just a small selection of the policies, ethos and working practices that make that claim a reality.
Remuneration. The article alludes several times to the word “commission” REAL Fundraising is proudly certified by the Living Wage Foundation meaning that every employee in our fundraising ecosystem is paid the real living (or London living) wage, currently £9.85 or £11.05 (this is up for review in Sept 2022). This means that employees have financial peace of mind and wage security that does not put them in a position where they feel they have to cut corners to get sign-ups. It also ensures they get a wide range of employment rights including holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay (in REAL’s case double statutory maternity pay) and in REAL’s case also have fertility treatment paid leave & pregnancy loss leave. Never commission only, never zero hours.
Training, Compliance & Mystery shopping. Every Fundraiser employed within the REAL Ecosystem gets two paid days of training on all aspects of fundraising and charity knowledge before knocking on a single door. They produce an invigilated, assessed exam on all compliance errors and video dialogue on the charity they are chosen to represent. What this means for our clients is that nobody can ever represent their campaign without us having documented proof that they are qualified to do so.
REAL is relentlessly committed to mystery shopping and auditing. We are of course signed up to the CIoF mystery shopping program for Street & PS but given this article refers to door-to-door we wanted to highlight our excellent partners in compliance Green Light Sites. Conducting a 3-4 hour Audit every 100 donors we secure on the doorstep that has over 100 point check on all aspects of compliance and ensures we know what level of fundraising is taking place on the doorstep.
Welcome Calling. Always Free. We speak to over 55% of donors for quality and assurance purposes, welcome callers provide instant feedback to managers on any compliance issues and can easily raise to more senior management if there is a training or compliance issue in the field before it becomes a wider scale issue. This includes a ranking from every donor on the quality of the interaction. Currently, Donors rate REAL fundraising 9.7/10
Values. We hold our values close to our hearts and have done so ever since we formed in 2009, so much so in fact that we embedded them into REAL’s name (Respect, Ethics, Activism and Love). We only work with people and businesses who share the same values and this is well reflected in the partnerships we have (and have not formed) over the years. We firmly believe in the power of ethics and activism as can be seen (among many other things) by our 13-year programme of ethical boycotts, the REAL Ethical fund that has donated over £76k to local and international causes since 2018 and the fact that every single REAL employ benefits from 6 paid volunteer ‘activist’ day per year.
We think it is important for all of our staff to have empathy and to understand the issues that exist in the world and the importance and power of the compassion our clients and other charities show each and every day. This in turn creates better fundraising.
Award-winning & Certified. How do companies know they are on the right track though? As well as relentlessly collecting benchmarked data on all aspects of the business we also open up our entire business to auditing to check and feedback.
We are really proud to have either won or been runner-up for a business culture award category in 2018, 2020 and 2021 including for our work with our sub-contracting partners, demonstrating how partnership brings the best out of face-to-face fundraising agencies in the sector. We believe that we can grow the sector in a way that drives good fundraising as well as ensures that fundraisers and managers get the career progression they deserve.
In 2018 REAL Fundraising was audited and certified as a B Corporation with a score of 112.7, however, in 2022 we opened our doors again for recertification scoring 159.6 making us the 2nd highest ranked B Corp in the whole of the UK out of over 800 BCorps nationwide. We also achieved Best for the World™️ in 2 categories, demonstrating our commitment to Business as a Force for good at all times.
Furthermore, REAL is certified by Stonewall as a Diversity champion ensuring we have policies practices and processes in place that encourage diversity and are written inclusively. As a Carbon neutral organisation, we are committed to measuring, reducing and offsetting all CO2 since 2018.
Why do we do all of this? We believe that getting the right people, and showing them how to make ethical decisions at all times, will lead them to be the best charity brand ambassadors at all times mitigating the risk that we will ever see the bad behaviour displayed in historic press stories about Face to face fundraising, a method we know works and we love wholeheartedly.