Pros: noncommission, benefits, decent wage, work experience doesn't matter
Cons: keeping job dependent on performance, gets old hearing, "no" and being treated like dirt regularly, initital eval goes by quick
Almost all starting jobs at Public Outreach are for street fundraisers, otherwise known as canvassers, street yellers, in the UK chuggers i.e. "charity muggers."
Which is sometimes true, but hopefully not.
Public Outreach is a third party fundraising company for a variety of nonprofits, like an agency that makes that makes TV commercial campaigns – more... for charities. Except in this, you're the commercial. And you're outside. And people talk back to you, sometimes rudely.
Because it's working outside, it's a much nicer job to do in LA than the Midwest, but the substance is the same wherever. You have to get people in public to talk to you when their plan is often anything but that, and do it in a way that's not so aggressive or annoying that people actively hate you.
The goal is to fundraise, and unlike most other canvassing companies PO *only* counts monthly donors. The equivalent for other organizations would be "sustainers." Quota is an average of $30 in sustainers per day per week. A $15 monthly gift would be half of what you need for a day (10 percent of a 5-day work week), but a $500 one time gift would be worth nothing.
The pay is hourly, starting at $10 or $11 depending on the market, and there's no bonus for a good day or good week. So essentially, your motivation is just to keep going and talking to people about a charity. You get a $0.50 per hour pay raise when you staff (getting that average) and each time you hit the next overall total, so about every month and a half for full time workers. Top pay is $16 or $17, again, depending on the market.
But most people who try the job and get picked for training won't staff, and most people who staff won't make it beyond about 3 months. People who make it to 3 months typically fall off after 6 months, and after 6 months people go until they burn out after a few years, either as fundraisers or once they've done a management level job for a while (and for management, the job work/life balance rating seems to be 1-star). Those jobs open up fairly regularly because of that burn out, and somewhat less often, because a new office is opened.
Most people won't staff because it's a very negative job, and if you're not an incredibly positive person, being told "Not today" or worse repeatedly for saying "Hello" wears on you. If you meet a nice person and really need a sign up for the day, you may yourself end up pleading with them to do something they're not into just so you can keep your job. That wears on you, too.
And when you do get that sign up at the end of the day, and it actually does process, you still have the pressure of doing it all the next one.
So, on a typical day, street fundraisers meet at the office for a meeting to talk about numbers, or focus on a particular skill or updated information about the charity. Most typically it's just an energizer to get people in the mood to TALK TO PEOPLE all day.
You go out together in a teams to the actual fundraising locations, called 'turf.' In most cities, turf is shared with other canvassing organizations, and there's a rotation so there's not competition between charities and rival consultancies.
There's two paid 15 minute breaks for smokes, coffee, etc., and a lunch in the middle of the day to break the work into quarters.
When you're out there, there are other fundraisers around, your supervisor comes by to check on you, and you're completely awash in people most of the time. But you can sure feel completely alone, too.
The good things, really, are that for young people who are trying to figure out their lives and do something "meaningful," it is better than working retail or bartending or doing other service jobs.
If you've hit rock bottom recently, it's nice when someone actually expects something of you, like supervising a crew of people and doing paperwork. You may still be a screw up, but you can feel like you're not while you work.
And if you're either genuinely passionate about the charitable sector, or as other have said, a manipulative sociopath, you can do this sort of thing for the long haul and get a salaried job, or paid to travel to lots of places and do this gig indefinitely.
But it's not a job for everyone, and for most who can do it, it's sort of a phase while you're sorting other stuff out, looking to get a paycheck, and be able to look at yourself in the mirror for what you have to do to get it. – less