With a limited number of reputable agencies available in some states, some WA teams displaying behaviours last seen in the wild west movies, the class-action lawsuits building against the commission-only ones, and the knock-on effect of nervous boards putting pressure on their M&F teams, many Australian charities have come up with a simple solution. Let’s start an in-house team. After all, how hard could it be?!
Before you run to the conclusion that this will be an in-house-bashing article, I should state right now that it is not. I’ve worked with a few in-house teams in the recent past and have seen things done there that any agency would covet. The raw passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the cause that these people display is the envy of any and all agencies however ‘in-house’ they claim their services to be.
It is also true that passion does not always convert easily into results. Showing love for a charity is not the same skill set as getting money from people.
But that is not my main concern. The biggest issue is that some charity boards believe that their existing fundraising and marketing team, with a couple of tweaks, can run a face-to-face operation that will have none of the issues that they see in the press and still meet all their financial commitments.
In-house teams can be a huge asset to your fundraising mix, but if you believe that your in-house team can fully replace the 20,000+ new donors that your agencies bring in you may be sorely mistaken. Nearly every charity that runs an in-house team has agencies running alongside from time-to-time to fill the income gap. It is fine if you just want 1,000 per month nationwide, but with councils getting stricter with their regulations, federated organisations limiting acquisition area, and a skills shortage for key staff members to run the programs, you will struggle to hit the volumes on your own.
If you understand the risks and still wish to give it a go I can recommend a very qualified service to get it off the ground (PM me for their details), and I also dabble a little myself, but please do not take this commitment lightly. Australia’s F2F agencies are not perfect, but they perform a service that charities don’t because it is not easy.