Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17

AlfRodchenko

Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

30

Fundraising has been widely criticised since

the death of Olive Cooke, who was hounded

by charities. Yet despite the moral backlash,

people on the doorstep are broadly

sympathetic. On the rare occasion that I’m

greeted with hostility or verbal abuse, I try

not to take it personally. You don’t know

what’s going on behind that person’s door.

On the whole, the people I meet are friendly.

Sometimes a bit too friendly. Over the years,

I’ve had hot meals, been given books and

had all the Jaffa Cakes I can eat. I was even

flashed at once and – more than a few times

– propositioned.

The interesting thing about my job is being

allowed, however briefly, into people’s lives.

For a moment, I’m a friend and confidante.

I spoke to a lady recently who was in the

middle of recovering from an operation on

her stomach. She came to the door holding

a carrier bag with a tube that disappeared

up her jumper. Before I knew what was

happening, she lifted it up and showed me

her stomach which was being held in by a

plastic sheet. She was scared of visiting her

friends, she said, because she leaked and she

had to sit on a plastic bag wherever she went.

What’s more, the financial rewards are there

to be had. I have known fundraisers to make

£1,500 a week in bonuses. It’s obscene. But

to put it in perspective, they will have raised

over £15,000 that week (projected over three

years, which is the average amount of time

someone donates). This is one of the most

effective ways there is for charities to raise

the money they need.

However, the job isn’t always easy, and

the £7 hourly basic is scarcely enough to

live on if I’m not earning any bonuses,

especially when I get paid for only five hours

of what can be a nine- or 10-hour day.

The problem is being able to impress your

positivity on people in a job that naturally

elicits rejection. Essentially, fundraising is

no different from sales. It’s all about being

able to build relationships – people sign

up not because they like the charity, but

because they like you. Most fundraising

organisations outwardly disassociate

themselves from sales strategies, but they

operate in the same way as any company

selling something. The business model relies

on acquiring a specific quantity of donors

on behalf of the client, and so fundraising

is necessarily results-focused. And in most

cases, fundraisers are not motivated by the

cause, but by their commission. The main

reason I continue fundraising is because of

the earning potential. These underlying truths

often undermine the ethical integrity of the

clients, the fundraising companies and the

fundraisers themselves.

SHEEP IN THE ROAD : NUMBER TEN

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