Caring for our staff
Pay, reward and benefits
This is understandably a controversial subject in the charity sector, with as many views as there are people to discuss them. We have made decisions that we believe walk the line between responsible use of the money generously donated to us and rewarding people well for hard work, talent and commitment. The trustees have set a 5:1 salary ratio between the lowest and highest paid roles.
The 2018 salaries for the Chief Executive, Founder and Executive Director were set at £77,306 (2017: £75,347) and the salaries for the other members of the senior management team were set at £53,453 (2017 £52,099).
Communicating effectively with our large network of frontline staff
As with any organisation that has staff and volunteers working around the country, we need to ensure that we can connect with our entire organisation from time to time. We're building a movement of people within the UK Church dedicated to serving those struggling under the weight of debt and poverty. It's impossible to build a unified movement without good communication and relationship. This takes many forms including line management and regular phone or video calls.
We also host a selection of conferences aimed at ensuring our staff, volunteers and church leadership partners are fully trained, equipped, inspired and cared for so they can complete the demanding work of supporting people out of poverty. Once every two years, we host a gathering of all staff and volunteers over a two day period (with our head office team attending only one of those days). On the year between, we host four regional conferences held over two nights, with staff split one conference each. Once a year, we take a small one day conference to around five regional locations, specifically aimed at investing in the crucial relationship with our church partners, which ensures a stable and long serving network.
We are conscious of the cost of these events and our events teams are trained in effective negotiation skills. We utilise our charitable status to secure the lowest prices whilst balancing that with seeking an acceptable quality of venue to ensure smooth running of the conferences. We believe the value of the conferences is in forming a vital pillar in the emotional support of staff who are working with vulnerable people in difficult circumstances. The huge benefits can also be seen in the longevity of our centre network and staff retention. Finally, since we work in the highly regulated finance industry, it is imperative that we ensure regular face to face training with our debt centre team to guarantee regulatory compliance.
Business travel and accommodation policy
Many of our team need to travel to allow us to outwork our mission. This could be to visit a client, or to attend meetings with creditors we work with. Our fundraisers need to host and attend events to tell people about our work and raise income. There are many reasons we need to travel, but we ensure that it’s done in the best interest of the charity. We have clear spending guidelines for expenses and require a line manager to sign off spend. As a rule, where possible (and unless disproportionately expensive compared to other options) we use budget hotel chain, Premier Inn. They are known for providing affordable quality, and allow us to access preferential rates through a business account (therefore also saving money on processing expenses).
As a rule, we don’t allow our staff to travel first class, although we retain the right to allow it at senior management discretion for certain situations. One example would be when staff are placed in more vulnerable situations like travelling late at night, where first class travel has an on duty guard in the carriage. When travelling internationally, we don’t fly business or first class unless upgrading for free using airline points.
Charities have to walk a fine line when it comes to fundraising. They have to spend enough money on fund and awareness raising to ensure the income they need to achieve their charitable objectives without spending so much that not enough money is sent to the front line. In an ideal world, every pound donated to a charity would be spent directly on delivering services that help people out of poverty. The reality is that it would be reckless to continue to try and grow our services without knowing we could support our existing work, yet we know more and more people need our help.
This means we have to fundraise, and if we’re going to fundraise we want to do it well. It means investing in talented people to plan and deliver amazing fundraising activities. It means investing in technology to ensure hold supporter data securely and can provide a fantastic experience of supporting CAP. It means we have to invest money in long term strategies, this could be things like sponsoring conferences, Life Changer events or our fundraising dinners.
We understand that, when somebody gives money to Christians Against Poverty, the belief is that money will directly impact someone who needs it. A donation made to CAP is, we believe, an excellent example of ensuring as much money goes to helping our clients as is possible. 0p from every pound goes directly to the clients, whereas just 10p is spent on support costs (including fundraising, finance and governance) That 10p is providing us with long term stability so we can reach even more people in the future.
The value of fundraising dinners
Fundraising dinners are an integral part of our fundraising year. They ensure that supporters who often make significant donations to the charity feel well connected and informed about the work of Christians Against Poverty. For every £1 we spend on fundraising dinners we raise just over £6. We choose to use venues that will ensure our guests enjoy the evening and feel thanked for the vital contributions they make to our work.
Tickets to attend our fundraising dinners are free. We believe that people are more generous with their gifts as a result, because they are choosing to give towards our work, rather than pay for an evening's entertainment for a good cause. All of which is in line with our charity value of generosity.
If you would like to join us at our next fundraising dinner please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you're interested.
Creditor relationships and finance
A large portion of the work we do sees us working with organisations from across the span of the finance industry. This includes major high street banks, credit purchasers, councils, utility providers and bailiffs. We work with these organisations on many different levels: providing specialist training, contributing to consultation papers and attending industry conferences and events. CAP has a voice into some of the highest discussions relating to debt and poverty issues in the UK. Some of our work with finance companies sees them making a donation, either through a recognised scheme called ‘fairshare’ or a direct donation to our work. In total, this type of donation makes up only 7.7% of our income. 4.7% is from ‘fairshare’, with 3% being from companies. This 3% also includes donations received from individual supporters who own businesses and choose to donate via them.
Christians Against Poverty is an independent and regulated organisation, and no donation has or will ever influence our policy or treatment of a client's case. We are legally bound to remain impartial – a rule that we are wholly in agreement with.
There are times when companies act in ways we deem to be wrong. In those moments, we have decisions to make around how to react. The vast majority of the time, we will take the issue up with the organisation directly, thanks to the relationships we have built, and seek to resolve it behind the scenes. This could be an issue with a single case or a systemic problem. At other times, we will choose to use a louder voice through the media, a campaign or by joining with other organisations to make a statement. We use the best judgement we can to make a decision appropriate to the situation.