Effective Complaints Handling for Fundraising Organisations (27-Aug-19)

Effective Complaints Handling for Fundraising Organisations (27-Aug-19)

Date: Tuesday 27th Aug 2019

09:15 - Registration
09:30 - Start
16:00 - Finish

Town/City: Westminster

Location: London

Venue: Institute of Fundraising - London

Directions / Address

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There are more than 165,000 charities working to raise funds and support their communities, with a combination of paid staff, volunteers and third party agencies. There are countless success stories: but sometimes things can go wrong.

The Fundraising Regulator’s most recent data (2016) reports more than 42,000 complaints to charities in that year - and that’s just from the organisations who submitted their figures. The regulator received a far smaller number, 700 complaints, which indicates that charities are already working well to resolve issues either face-to-face or via correspondence. However, we can always do more.

Moreover, our new course ‘Effective Complaints Handling for Fundraising Organisations’ has been designed and developed for individuals within both charities and third party agencies who want to:

  • Hear first-hand from the Funding Regulator about good practice and their expectations
  • Devise or revise an effective Complaints Handling Policy
  • Learn practical techniques to handle written complaints through closing issues without closing doors


Learning outcomes

By attending this course, you will:

  • Understand what the regulator wants and needs from the way you handle complaints
  • Follow a step-by-step guide to introducing a complaints policy into your organisation
  • Learn how to respond to correspondence in a way that reflects well on your organisation
  • Understand writers’ trigger points and how to spot their areas of concern
  • Structure responses with empathy, respect and clear explanations
  • Make your point without sounding defensive or argumentative


Course outline

You will join up to 18 of your peers for a full day course, running from 09.30 to 16.00 which is interactive and highly practical. All course materials are designed to maximise accessibility to the learning and can be provided in advance or in a variety of formats to ensure everyone attending can contribute on the day.

The format of the day will be as follows:

  • Trainer welcome and introduction: explanation of the day’s activities and objectives.
  • Introduction from the Fundraising Regulator: a description of what’s working well and what they expect from charities when handling complaints.
  • What should a complaints policy contain? An introduction to what a good policy looks like – with a step-by-step guide to introducing good practice to your charity. This session will encourage timeliness, a willingness to apologise and a structured approach to be implemented across the whole organization.
  • Exploring good and bad practice: a practical session looking at real-life examples from the charitable and other sectors, to identify what works well.
  • How to plan for success: thinking through the purpose, reader and effect of your correspondence. This session will feature latest research on reading and eye-tracking studies, how readers process your information and how to format your correspondence to ensure it’s effective.
  • The Four Bar Planning Grid: sometimes it can be difficult to work out what’s needed in your response. This session will help you identify the trigger point in complaint letters, helping you to answer the right question.
  • A practical exercise: participants will respond to a sample complaint letter, to use all the skills learnt during the morning session.
  • Peer review and feedback: participants will share their letters and use objective feedback grids to provide constructive feedback and a fresh pair of eyes: the grids are ideal for use with colleagues back in the workplace.
  • Learning to use checklists: a good complaints policy should be accompanied by a series of objective checklists, to help all staff and volunteers understand and assess the standard of their written responses. This session embeds those checklists which will be supplied as part of the materials on the day.
  • Quality assuring real-life examples: participants will look at initial complaints, complete their four-bar grids and then quality assure real-life responses which were sent to complainants in the recent past. This session encourages participants to work in groups, to enable educated discussion using the day’s learning.


Trainer biography

Susan Calthorpe, Director, The Clive Davis Partnership

Susan works with organisations and individuals to improve their written communications skills. She worked as a regional and national newspaper journalist before setting up a full-service communications company, now established for 30 years. She works with public and private sector organisations to help with:

  • Effective emails
  • Report writing
  • Briefings and submissions
  • Persuasive and influential writing techniques
  • Promotional writing
  • Effective complaint handling


Communicating complex information for non-technical readers. Her recent clients include Legal & General, HSBC, BRIT, the Law Society, the Civil Aviation Authority, Express Medicals Ltd, the Intellectual Property Office and the Office for National Statistics. She has also worked with many government departments and has recently undertaken particular projects with the Home Office, HMRC, HMT, MOD, DfID, the FCO, the Information Commissioner’s Office and the Insolvency Service.  She also trains internationally and has worked in Bangladesh, France, Kenya, Qatar, India and Ethiopia on a range of written word projects.


£220 IoF Individual members

£280 non-Individual members

If you require an invoice please ensure you book your place a minimum of two weeks before the start date of your course.

IoF Academy One and Two Day Open Course Booking Terms and Conditions.


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Further details and contact information

Academy Team
Email: academy@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk
Telephone: 0207 840 1020

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