Texas Campaign for the Environment

  www.texasenvironment.org
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3 people found this helpful  

Most of my best friends are folks I met through working at TCE!

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Career Opportunities
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Austin, TX
Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Austin, TX

Pros

* Almost everyone on staff keeps up with current events and enjoys intelligent conversation.
* Walking around from 4-9 PM is good exercise.
* Generating handwritten letters to policymakers (and sometimes hand-delivering them) is empowering.
* The organization is almost entirely community funded, so campaign objectives are never beholden to corporate or government interests.
* Health insurance, vacation and sick days are all offered.
* Ten day training program covers all basic canvassing skills and FAQs on current campaigns.
* Travel opportunities exist to cross-train at other canvassing organizations around the country.
* Talking to 40-50 people every night means you meet really interesting people on a regular basis...and you realize that supporters of environmental campaigns are quite a diverse bunch.
* The skills you need to do this job well are skills that are useful in many other aspects of life (strong eye contact, speaking confidently and concisely, how to read a map, how to find common ground with someone who seems very different from you, etc, etc, etc).

Cons

* While about half the people you approach each day get involved in the campaign, the other half do not, and some non-supporters are quite rude -- the overly sensitive need not apply.
* Although $7.25/hour is guaranteed, advertised pay rate and job retention are based on meeting minimum fundraising standards, so this job is not a good fit for those seeking a guaranteed salary regardless of performance.

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Other reviews for Texas Campaign for the Environment

  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    There are better jobs elsewhere...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Community Organizer  in  Dallas, TX
    Former Employee - Community Organizer in Dallas, TX

    Pros

    - As mentioned on almost every review, the people you work with are phenomenal. I met passionate, interesting, and wonderful individuals at my office and it really helped make the experience bearable.

    - You learn about issues that you may not have known about otherwise. The environment has always been important to me, but there were issues we tackled in TCE that I had never though of before. It was interesting being able to educate myself in the process of this job.

    Cons

    I'm honestly surprised so many of the reviews glossed over the negatives of this job. No job is perfect - no matter how much you may love it. It's a bit skeptical that this job would receive raving reviews without any criticism of the conditions of the work.

    - As mentioned several times - employee turnover is quite high. It's for a multitude of reasons, honestly, but I think the main reason is that people either quit because of the conditions or because they can't meet the weekly quota. And with that...

    - A few bad weeks can mean being fired. You have a certain dollar amount you must earn in a night. At the end of the week, your paycheck will consist of half of the funds you raised for that week (plus some if you went over the weekly quota.) If you're new, you get a few weeks to get your spiel down and make the quota. If you don't start making the quota, you're axed (this is how more than half of the employees are lost.)

    -This job, at face-value, appeals to activists and people who want to inspire change, however, at it's core it's essentially a door-to-door salesperson occupation. You're generally trying to "sell" these various issues to the public. I'm not convinced I ever educated anyone on the issues. I raised enough money to stay with the organization, but raising money doesn't mean that anyone became enlightened on the issues. We may have been able to reach our legislative goals because of those funds, but I never felt like anyone cared about what we were trying to sell.

    - There isn't much professionalism in this occupation. Which can, admittedly, be a positive aspect for some. For me, it just felt like we were a bunch of random post-graduates knocking on doors and selling the environment. I get the casual vibe is a plus in any office, but if we're trying to raise money for an organization, should we not have a shirt or some type of garb to identify who we are? Can we at least have a dress code that ensures that we have a sense of professionalism? Half of the women I worked with didn't even put on a bra when they went to work. I just think when you're representing something, especially something as important as the issues we covered, it's important to make sure we make a good first impression. Our clients don't know us from any other person off the street, just having some standards on something as simple as dress could make a world of difference and make us feel like a legitimate organization.

    - Be prepared to give your nights up. You generally don't get back to the office until at least 11:00 p.m. and then you feel pressured to hang out with your co-workers afterwards - meaning, you will be accused of not being a team player if you don't choose to hang out with them.

    - Working outside in Texas is just hard. This isn't a fault of TCE, but it is a negative of the job. I'm just saying - during those Summer months - dehydration and heat exhaustion become a norm.

    - Be prepared for slammed doors in your faces. It's just a part of the territory, but after a while, it does a good job of making you feel ineffective.

    - Don't waste your time arguing with clients who don't support the issues. TCE states that we educate the public about the issues, but in reality, we just ask for supporters to fund our campaigns. What I mean is, at the door you state the issue and ask the client if they are interested in supporting it. If they say no, you move on. There's no point in wasting your spit in arguing with someone who is not going to change their stance for you.

    I quit when a new job opportunity opened up, but it's important to note that I was only with the organizations for about a month and a half. Not a long time - and I guarantee you I would have left even I wasn't offered another job. There are other jobs - better jobs - elsewhere, where you are paid and valued for your work, where you can still make a difference, and where employees enjoy better benefits. I would not recommend this job for anyone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Screen better for employees. The "Observation Day" is nothing more than a thinly veiled disguise at getting free labor. You claim it's to show future prospects the conditions of the job, but I honestly can't begin to count the number of people who left after Observation Day. Just be honest with people when you're interviewing and don't screen for "halfway sane." Screen for people who you believe will make greats salespeople and who will be effective in raising funds. Asking everyone you interview to come to an observation day, knowing the statistical chances of that person staying with the organization is just using an activist's idealism to gain free labor.

    Doesn't Recommend
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    They Should Hire Volunteers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Canvasser  in  Austin, TX
    Former Employee - Canvasser in Austin, TX

    Pros

    So I got a glassdoor account in order to look at reviews of other jobs but I had to review places that I worked before I could begin. When I saw the ratings for this company and the ridiculous 5 star reviews, I felt I would give my honest opinion for TCE. I worked for TCE for about two months in between graduating college and getting a new job.

    PROS:

    The people I worked with were amazing. Also you constantly came into contact with very interesting people - both those working for TCE and the people who we met in the course of our job.

    Canvassing in itself is an interesting job. You're not stuck inside all day and you feel like you're playing an active role in accomplishing something.

    As someone else said, 4-9 hours walking outside is great exercise.

    Cons

    CONS:

    Those cool people you work with? Hope they stick around, employee turnover is very high at TCE. I think at some point it is important for an organization to reflect on its policies and operations and concentrate on ways to increase employee retention. Some turnover is expected in any agency, but a high turnover rate should be a red flag to any person hunting on the job market.

    Canvassing isn't for everyone - especially anyone that hopes to sustain a living. It's really illogical for anyone to think that you (alone, living in Austin) can sustain a living by solely working at TCE. Another job is a must if you hope to not live in absolute poverty.

    Mailmen have nothing on us - rain, sleet, snow, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions (ok maybe not that one) etc. etc. - canvassers are out there!

    Your payment is kind of complicated. Ok, it's not that complicated, but you don't necessarily get paid by the hour. You get paid half of what you raise (and you do have a minimum quota you must meet.) Meeting that quota can be fairly difficult at times. They tell you that you will get paid a minimum amount per hour, but if you're not meeting quota after the first two weeks (I think it's two weeks, maybe three) then you will be fired. They tell you all of this after you're done with your observation day and if they have decided to hire you. Most people get hired except for the real weirdos/slackers. The payment pyramid is logical, but just because something is logical doesn't mean it's right. I see canvassers work their tails off and take next to nil home. After a while, I felt discouraged. I was doing all of this work and raising all of this money, but still having to depend on my fiance for financial support. I'm not one to depend on other people so it was a rough time.

    Management is kind of a crap-shoot. There are requirements in order to be a field manager/field supervisor, etc. but I wouldn't say that any office is particularly "tenured."

    The leadership ladder is pretty short. Pay isn't that much more if you get promoted and there are only so many promotions you can get.

    You're not really educating people on issues. After a while I felt like I was trying to hustle people out of money - that quota thing can be a stresser. Most of the time I was just hoping I could get all the info out before the person closed the door and returned to their dinner. I mean, you may get someone to write a letter and a check - but they don't really become invested in the issues, they just want you to stop bothering them. It's a good tactic, I guess, and as long as TCE meets its goals...but in this case, it just raises the philosphical question: do the ends justify the means?

    TCE isn't exactly honest, or as another person on here said, transparent, with their employees. We don't tell donors that half of their funds sustain the canvasser and we don't tell canvasser recruits about the realities of the job until AFTER they've experienced observation day. I can't begin to count the number of recruits that came and left after observation day. TCE doesn't care - we just got free labor for the day. I got tired of meeting awesome people whom I never saw again. I get that if you tell someone about what the job entails it won't sound as attractive, but deceiving people? Just be up front and stop wasting people's time. It isn't ethical.

    TCE plays off the altruism of the canvassers and the emotions of the clients. Just tell it to people straight - no gimmicks, no deceptions, no exaggerations. We don't need a sensationalist view of environmental conditions. Inciting fear is simply not attractive in garnering support.

    The truth is, I work at a job right now (a non-profit, but it's a fairly small office) and I enjoy many of the pros that I enjoyed while I worked at TCE (I worked at TCE for about two months.) I don't sit at a desk all day, I meet interesting people, my co-workers are amazing, and we have an exercise program at the office, and the best part is, I receive great payment for my work - Huzzah! In fact, if I wasn't getting married and having to move to a new location, I would stay at my current job. The great parts of TCE can be found in better jobs at better agencies and offices elsewhere. I'd say apply if you want a summer popcorn job - but don't apply if you're trying to make a serious living and start your career. This is like the Lifetime network of jobs - it's where you go when you're burnt out, not when you're looking for a start off platform.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Honestly, I'm not sure if this is feasible but: I'd advise TCE to employ mainly volunteers and have a small staff of full-time employees. The full-time staff can enjoy better pay and benefits and the organization could enjoy a higher staff retention rate.

    Doesn't Recommend
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