“They’ve done it again” exclaimed Janet, the RG Manager of a major national charity, as she read an email from the latest bitter recipient of an unwanted charity knocker at her door.
“Bill, this lady had three fundraisers knocking on her door last night. THREE! They were pushy, abusive and one even asked if he could use her toilet. Can you believe this? You’d think they’d know that they can’t do this!” “What are you going to do about it?” asked Bill passively. “I don’t know, Bill. I just don’t know. This is the fourth complaint this week. I’m in half a mind to call our supplier and tell them what has happened”. “Are you sure you want to bother them?” smirked Bill as he sipped his tepid coffee.
This is the type of conversation that is heard far too often in the offices of NFPs the world over and concerns a problem that can be avoided with such simplicity that those who know the answer will appreciate how painful it is for me to write these next lines.
If you tell your child not to draw on the walls and they still do it, it is their fault.
If you don’t tell your child not to draw on the walls and they still do, it is your fault.
Not meaning to analogise children and fundraisers, but the message stands. On the morning of Thursday 28th February, at the FIA 2019 Conference, myself, Paul Tavatgis, Jenny Kearney and Mark Anscombe will be sharing this message as well as a host of tips and tricks from our combined 500+ fundraiser training sessions that will hopefully give our audience a deeper toolbox to delve into when upskilling their teams or suppliers – advert over… nearly. It is the only F2F-based training at the entire event so if you have any connection to the channel you need to get yourself there. It is unmissable – advert over… I promise.
Getting back on track, whether you are on the agency side of the fence or the client one you need to ask yourself, ‘if you are not training your teams who is?’ I recommend sitting down before you answer this because the answer might catch you off-guard.
Whoever you are, you might just realise that the ones training your teams are the ones spending the most time with them, the team leaders. Gasp.
At best, the team leaders in your ranks are high-performing, passionate, legitimate and honest representatives for the supplier and the charity they fundraise for. They are informed, intelligent and interested in doing the very best work they can. At worst, they are salespeople with two-weeks experience in the field and an instinct to do whatever it takes to make themselves wealthy even if it means ripping off the supplier and your charity.
Either way, they need your constant guidance, support, and to know your boundaries. If they love and respect you, they will do their best for you. If you don’t tell them what you consider to be their best, they will use their initiative. Initiative is a very mixed bag.
Take the opportunity in training to share with them a code of conduct that they must abide by and ask them to sign a form evidencing their understanding of these rules. When you receive a complaint, be quick to report it to the supplier as they don’t want to do bad work and need to discipline their staff from time to time.
Every time an ill-informed fundraiser tells a lie or misinformed fact about your cause you can track down the source of the blame. Sometimes it is with them, and painfully, sometimes it is with you. So, don’t be a stranger. Insist on regular training and updates and spend a little longer with the team leaders as they are key to the success of your campaign.
Happy fundraising, and we’ll see you on the 28th!