Two years ago, I kept hearing the same problem fall from the lips of my clients. They were told by me and others to move their f2f campaign to the doors as the attrition tends to be better than that of its street and private site cousins, but this led to an unforeseen issue.
Before we launch the problem and my solution, it must be said that although it is still true that the attrition will be generally better on the doors it can depend on many factors including the time of the knocking, the socio-economic demographics you knock in, and the team you use.
Anyway, back to the story… my clients had moved many of their teams to the doors but had now created the problem of losing one of their key tools for assessing the quality of their newly acquired supporters, the Mystery Shop.
As with the doors versus street issue, the success of the Mystery Shopping also has a lot of factors, none more important than the company you choose to complete the shops. To be safe you should always use either myself (shameless plug) or one of a couple of others I can name, plus you must definitely use the free F2F User Group Mystery Shopping App too (please DM or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about my services or for the details of those mentioned). There are other corporate services available, but I would avoid them like the plague as they have very limited insight into the fundraising process.
The solution I created to the lack of Mystery Shopping options was the Door to Door Shadow, a new and unique way of working alongside the teams to experience their fundraising. At first, I doubted the success of my own service because I thought the strength of the Mystery Shop lay in the mystery, but I was soon struck by a realisation that has shaped my thinking about f2f.
Generally speaking, fundraisers are honest… even the bad ones.
Even when their attrition is terrible because they instruct the donor to cancel after one month or tell tall tales about the charity’s focus and success, they are being honest. They are merely repeating exactly what they have been told to say by their abysmal manager or Team Leader. This means that when I Shadow them on the doors, they tell the donors to cancel and point at the phone number to call right in front of me! They do this because that is how they are trained.
A Door to Door Shadow session will take me a few hours, and unlike its mysterious kin, is not a one-stop Shop. I will speak with as many fundraisers as I can and hear multiple pitches, listen to different types of objection handling and witness their behaviour and how they respect the neighbourhood they are working in.
I don’t suggest that everyone go out and Shadow their teams because an untrained observer can make some serious rookie mistakes, but if you’re a charity-side f2f manager with in-field f2f experience you should definitely get out there and listen to your fundraisers. Not only do you get to hear what they are saying about your charity, but when done right, you build a stronger bond with them and show them that you.