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I spy with my little eye...

With over 150 mystery shops under our belts, we thought it was time to share some of the top-level lessons we’ve learned. To portray our beloved channel in a more positive light, we’re focussing on the good stuff first.

So, here goes:

  • 90% of fundraisers are in the locations at the time they said they would be. This means that only 10% are no shows.

  • 76% of shops are passes. This means that they received a total score of 56% or more.

  • Victorian fundraisers perform higher than those from other states for ‘personal appearance’ and ‘pitch accuracy’.

  • SA fundraisers understand the mechanics of the pledge better than the rest and generally have a friendlier ‘stopping/knocking technique’.

  • Door to door fundraisers score highest in every category of the mystery shop than the other channels.

  • 73% of your fundraisers wear the kit you asked them to in a way you asked them to and are considered to be neat and tidy.

In more generic news:

  • Australian charities (charities where the communicated need is an Australian one) perform 37% higher than international aid causes.

  • Education focussed charities score higher in mystery shops than others, with health causes just behind them.

  • As the focus on training their own staff slips down the priority list, using a supplier’s self-trained and managed teams are no longer a guarantee of quality with many performing worse than the subcontractors.

  • The age/longevity of the supplier has no correlation to the quality of the performance. This means that a new supplier can be just as good (or bad) as a longstanding one.

  • Christmas-time fundraising seems to get higher results for ‘stopping technique’, ‘rapport building’ and ‘team and stall appearance’.

Things we couldn’t prove or haven’t mapped the data for yet:

  • Older fundraisers sign up older donors. We have shopped only one fundraiser who appeared to be over 40 years old. That’s just one out of nearly 160 shops.

  • The socio-economic status of the location has an impact on the quality of the pledge. Without attrition data to map the shops against we cannot tell… yet.

There are some easy wins in areas where our sector is letting itself down. The room for improvement areas:

  • Pitch accuracy. It is low. Just 58% accuracy across all campaigns means that fundraisers are not pitching your charity they are making up a pitch that they think ‘sells’ using information not agreed by you and talking about work your cause does not do. This highlights a lack of clear, targeted and effective training. Too often the training sessions are generic and do not inspire fundraisers to use the USPs of the charity and their amazing work.

  • Just 40% of fundraisers scored 70% or higher for compliance. This means that 60% of them misled the donors to the nature and longevity of the pledge – including tax deductibility. Fundraising Partners now does training reviews of suppliers during their new fundraiser initial training and ongoing skills training sessions to find out where this negative and often fraudulent messaging is coming from and why a supplier trainer or owner might feel the need to take this route. By tracing it to the root we can banish it from the fundraiser’s mouths.

  • COVID-19 compliance is now an issue. The longer COVID persists in our communities the slacker fundraisers are becoming with social distancing in shopping centres being the biggest threat. Some charities are reporting an marked increase in complaints about the noncompliant behaviour of fundraisers and we are seeing it nearly every time we shop in private sites. Report it to your suppliers when you see it and remember that these behaviours are damaging your reputation not theirs.

This is just a snapshot of the results from just one of our due diligence services. We’ll be producing a more in depth look at the current state of F2F in Australia with tips for improving retention based on our mystery shopping exclusively for our existing clients.

For more information on how you can improve the quality of the conversations happening in your organisation’s name, contact us at


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