Public Outreach Reviews

Updated August 26, 2014
Updated August 26, 2014
36 Reviews

3.6
36 Reviews
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John Finlay
13 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Wonderful at first then went downhill.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Public Outreach

    Pros

    It was a great place to work with a very balanced work to benefit ratio. I loved my manager and the people I worked with were always very supportive.

    Cons

    After my first year of working and a change in management, the work life balance was force to change and the benefits began to be taken away one by one. It became a very stressful work environment. Where I once would have recommended this as company as an employer, I can no longer do so. I was treated with disrespect by my managers who were both male. I found there to be a glass ceiling in our department for both men and women. Progression was not encouraged in any concrete way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do not keep managers in positions simply because a viable alternative is not seen immediately or to save face. If I was the only one to feel this way, this review would not have been written. However, working as a supervisor for this organization I can tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. No organization is perfect but it seemed as years passed by, this organization did not get better, it only got worse, with corners being cut and zero accountability. Again, when I first started, I was excited and loved my job. However, by the end of my third year with this company, I was extremely stressed and overworked. I hadn't had a proper vacation in that 3 year time due to work constraints.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Intensive communication experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fundraiser  in  Kitchener, ON (Canada)
    Former Employee - Fundraiser in Kitchener, ON (Canada)

    I worked at Public Outreach part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    If you really like talking to people, if you really enjoy working with outgoing dynamic charity fundraisers, public outreach is the best please. Also, you won't have to get up early for work everyday. Can improve your communication to the next level.

    Cons

    Not much technical skills required. Might have to talk to more than 70 people and knock door to door. Long working hours from 12:30 pm to 9pm.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Conduct more event fundraising than just door to door.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Senior management not trained in conflict resoloution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Public Outreach full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -flexible work days
    -nice coworkers
    -easy to get hired

    Cons

    -untrained leaders
    - strong cap on growth within the company

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do not just promote based on numbers but also quality or managerial and leadership abilities.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Public Outreach

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fundraising Representative  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Fundraising Representative in Boston, MA

    I worked at Public Outreach part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great to meet new people, development of intercommunication skills

    Cons

    Unpredictable days, quick turn around

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    -

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    great student job, fair environment, emotionally exhausting

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Street Canvaser  in  Toronto, ON (Canada)
    Former Employee - Street Canvaser in Toronto, ON (Canada)

    I worked at Public Outreach full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    NOT ON COMMISSION!! yay! recognized for your good work, raises recieved fairly often, excellent wage, easy to advance in company, lots of hours given, flexible schedule, fairly friendly environment, opportunites to travel within Canada and US, energetic and understanding environment. Personal style of canvassing fairly respected. your health is respected and if you need a break or a water you wont be penalised or guilted for it.

    Cons

    a little clique-y, more experienced workers less welcoming, insane amount of pressure despite steady wage to get alot of signups. high office gossip level. morning briefings you will be expected to dance around and make a complete fool of yourself (very difficult for introverts) but if you are an introvert-ish person and you can make it work you will not be penalised.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    be more welcoming to evals. Allow them to just sit and watch if that helps them. I found having worked both street and PFU for 2.5 years, still felt like a newbie the entire time. Did not feel welcomed. Despite being an excellent and consistent canvasser, was never allowed to be proud of myself, was always pushed for more. Morning briefings were the absolute hardest thing of the whole day, sometimes sucking all the energy out of me and ruining my whole day. I realise they work for some people. But there has to be another option or something because for more introverted people they kill your confidence and energy. All the fake ra-ra cheerleading and making newbies embarass themselves is humiliating and exhausting and NOT HELPFUL. maybe give an option to go in the other room and meditate?

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Amazing, and eye-opening, but not for everyone.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Street Canvasser
    Former Employee - Street Canvasser

    I worked at Public Outreach part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    1. Super casual environment, amazingly flexible hours, friendly team leaders/staff members, and most of all, you get to be actively part of positive changes around the world.

    2. The work is non-commission based; reflecting a small part of Public Outreach's views on humanitarianism. Benefits after 6 months, and travel opportunities if you are really good at what you do.

    3. The training was rather disorganized, however it really really tried to build up team work. We got to meet people from all walks of life: From the liberal arts student, to the computer science student -- anyone with passion are considered candidates for the job.

    4. It's also an equal opportunities employer! They are friendly towards the LGBT community and never discriminate against visible minorities at all!

    Cons

    1. I was really excited to be part of Public Outreach, however wasn't able to translate that to canvassing on the street. Definitely not a job introverts (such as myself) who are trying to really come out of their comfort zone when all they have is a uniform, phone, and binder out on the streets. You really had get in random people's space. A big emphasis on that: You had to get in their space in order to get them to at least stop and talk to you. But again -- friendly staff: You can be honest with them about your comfort level, and they really understand that. They understand how you find that it just feels so wrong to waste such a good company's time. And there are no hard feelings left for both parties (Public Outreach and you).

    2. It was a bit heartbreaking to find out that a lot of people could actually care less about helping others less fortunate than themselves. -- Such a lesson is an important one; especially for liberal arts students with a lot of naivety (Not going to deny it. I know that I still have a lot to learn). It was definitely very eye-opening even if heart-breaking.

    3. There was little to no job security. You are expected to keep your numbers up, or else they would simply and very quickly replace you with someone new.

    4. Some co-workers were not super pleasant to be around; not all co-workers were queer friendly. But hey -- that's okay too. At least the company itself has its heart in the right place. Perhaps getting to really know someone during the group interviews could really help out.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recruitment and the process of setting up everything before a new employee gets to work was rather disorganized: You have to send them emails about your schedule on the first day, and you didn't really know what you are supposed to do after you leave training day. The method of clearly informing people about when and where they will be working could be improved.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Well intentioned, but a difficult model to be successful with.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Door-to-Door Canvasser  in  Victoria, BC (Canada)
    Former Employee - Door-to-Door Canvasser in Victoria, BC (Canada)

    I worked at Public Outreach full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    great culture and supportive colleagues all working toward a very important set of goals with real impact on the world. I also felt that management wanted the staff to hit targets and were willing to give advice and coaching to attempt to raise numbers, although those numbers had very little flexibility in them.

    Cons

    A difficult sales model with a fair bit of emotional strain and production targets that I felt were very tight. also some inter office friction and politics at the location I worked at.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Raise pay, institute a bonus structure for high producing canvassers rather than punishing low producing ones and have more hands on oversight at your regional offices. I never met a single member of upper management and didn't even know the CEO's name until I came on this site. also outline possibilities for advancement within the organization at hiring.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Bad experience. Beware!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fundraiser
    Former Employee - Fundraiser

    I worked at Public Outreach full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Friendly, supportive staff and co-workers, generally positive environment. Good pay for entry level
    position, but not an easy job. They played group bonding games during breaks which everyone seemed to enjoy because they already knew each other, but personally, I was embarrassed because they were playing loud games in public places where people were walking by and staring like we were children.

    Cons

    They said extensive training would be provided, but it was NOT. After a long presentation about the charity's background, they put a lot of pressure and emphasis on quotas and meeting number requirements. It was very much like a sales job. Basically, if you don't make the quota, they can fire you. They previously stated that they don't do commission because they don't want to pressure employees, but they omitted the quota requirement until after I was hired. Then they handed us a script, told us to memorize it verbatim literally overnight, and dropped us off in some neighborhood to knock on doors alone. I had no relevant experience or training at that point.

    There were MANY discrepancies between the job ad/interview and actual employment. I was told during the interview that we would fundraise in teams or pairs and very rarely have to do it alone. On the first day, they told me that everyone primarily fundraises alone. Keep in mind that they fundraise after dark so that's
    definitely a safety issue/concern, especially for female employees. Again, you have to knock on doors alone (very dangerous at night)!

    Many of the methods I witnessed from long-time fundraisers made me uncomfortable. They were pushy, aggressive, and bothersome. They wouldn't leave when asked to, and wouldn't take "no" for an answer. They used questionable tactics such as guilt and flattery to persuade people to donate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You need to be upfront and honest about what the job actually requires, from the beginning. Where was the extensive, great training I was promised? Try giving employees the tools and tips to succeed instead of pressuring them into getting enough sponsors and scaring them with termination. They act like they're so compassionate because they represent a charity, but it's really just about money.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Public Outreach Response

    Aug 6, 2014National Recruitment Manager POUSA

    It's unfortunate that your experience of talking to the locals in the area on a great non-profit was not a great one. Often times getting the opportunity to talk to someone at their home is a great ... More

  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Numbers-driven: not for everyone.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fundraising Representative  in  New York, NY
    Former Employee - Fundraising Representative in New York, NY

    I worked at Public Outreach full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    *Working on behalf of companies with great causes of humanitarian benefit! :D
    *Above-average competitive pay
    *Rapid advancement and lots of opportunities to grow within the company
    *Very flexible schedule
    *Great benefits

    Cons

    *All day outside - rain, sun, heavy snow, blistering cold, scorching heat - It doesn't matter what weather it is, you have to be there.

    *It feels more like sales than fundraising, despite Management assuring otherwise. The same manipulative techniques used in sales are disguised in different names and used to get people's information to get them involved in something they don't really want to be a part of.

    *Another point on the "sales" vibe - it's all about *immediate* numbers. Management talks occasionally about "quality", but they don't care about how many people you turn into long-term, "quality" donors if those people elect to become involved via phone call instead on the streets. But the truth is, nine times out of ten, the more mature, genuinely interested and financially responsible potential donors will do this, because they are willing to make a long-term investment, want to make sure that the organization whom they invest with truly guarantees what they promise, and they know better than to give out sensitive financial information on the sidewalk - regardless of how many cops are on the corner.

    *Double standard for newbies and "staff". The pressure is put on newbies to make a quota in a specific amount of time (and they'll claim it's not a quote but a "recommended amount") while (not all, but a lot of) the "staff" stands around and gossips, zones out, secures less donors and gets paid a lot more. It doesn't matter that you're punctual and diligent, worked ten times harder, spoke to more people for the day, scheduled more phone follow-ups with quality people, or actually CARE about the cause you're working for. If at the end of the stipulated time, you don't make that quota, you're out. But at the same time, you're not allowed to take specific types of donations, "because you're new and only staff can do that" - never mind the fact that you already know how to do it. Numbers, numbers, numbers...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    *Consider the idea of a portable card reader for your street fundraisers. You may gripe about the initial cost of it, but from a business perspective I see much more benefits than demerits from investing in a card reader. Less time is spent filling out detailed personal and financial information on a paper form, the card and most of the donor information goes through immediately, there is a lower chance of wrong information due to human error, and donors themselves feel more comfortable knowing that you didn't just spend ten minutes looking at all their sensitive information, after which you will be carrying it around with you in a binder than can easily get wet, damaged, lost or stolen. Then, since a transaction will take about 1/3 the time it currently takes with paper forms, there is a lot more time for you fundraisers to talk to other people - and thereby secure even more donors than before.

    *Stop focusing solely on numbers and neglecting the entire body of potential a new hire has. I understand this is fundraising, but at the same time not EVERYTHING is about numbers - especially for newbies who have no prior experience doing this kind of thing, but have the passion and determination to become great, if given a little bit of time to break in their new position, learn the ropes and given the opportunity to put all of their talent to use.

    *Understand that people are different - impulsive people, people who aren't busy and preoccupied with their own lives and problems when you meet them, quick thinkers/decision makers, those without privacy or security concerns and audio learners are the most likely ones to give immediate information. What about the rest of people? The ones who DO care, DO want to make a difference and DO want to get involves - but are visual learners, or people who need to sit down with the information and go through everything in excruciating detail; or have had security/privacy issues with their personal and financial information so are inclined to do their research before making a bad move again; or those who need to not be in a hurry and fix their personal issues for the day before they can help others. Those are the people you neglect, or pay less attention to, because they're not of any immediate benefit to you. But those people are precisely gems that our organizations need to achieve the goals they set, and those are the people who will stay and help them for as long as they possibly can.

    *Understand this is the kind of position where those numbers you care so much about do not solely depend on how well a person works, especially when there are so many guidelines about who can be a donor and how much can be accepted from them. It also depends a LOT on weather, location, the demographics of the area and the issues affecting the population at the time - both on that specific day and in general. It's absurd and unrealistic to expect every location and every day to be as good as the last - and lay the blame on workers when a required amount is not achieved - when it's so greatly affected by (very obvious) things that are beyond our control.

    *You pride yourselves on being a meritocracy, but too often people are kept because of their "experience" or length of time with the company, despite their blatant lack of caring for the cause and failing to reach goals. Stop being hypocritical, and become the meritocracy you claim to be. Give credit where credit is due, promote where potential is blossoming, and get rid of those who are doing nothing yet making money from you, because they're your friend and you don't want to let them go.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Public Outreach Response

    Aug 6, 2014National Recruitment Manager POUSA

    Thank you for your feedback on your experience with our company. You mention numbers quite a bit in your response, and the reality is since we are paid out of a charities fundraising budget we have ... More

  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Fundraiser

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fundraiser  in  Vancouver, BC (Canada)
    Former Employee - Fundraiser in Vancouver, BC (Canada)

    I worked at Public Outreach part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I lost weight due to all the walking.

    Cons

    They advertise the at a higher rate than they actually pay you. Then, once you say you're committed to the job they tell you the advertised rate is the rate after your probation period. Starting wage was $10 an hour, although advertised as $13 an hour.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When it comes to corporate value or anything else you need to lead by example.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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