It’s funny how, as you grow older, you develop your own idiosyncrasies and become a stickler for rules that many just roll their eyes at. I make my son restart a sentence if he uses the word ‘like’ in any context other than expressing a preference or making a comparison; and I really don’t understand the need for ‘text speak’ – it takes a nanosecond more to type the word ‘your’ rather than ‘ur’ or even ‘OK’ rather than ‘k’ (what’s that about?) When my brother and I were growing up, they were simpler times (we’re talking the 1970s though, not the 1870s) and it was instilled in us that you should always be polite, honest, and wear clean pants. As many of you know, Majestic Publications is a family company founded by our MD (and mother) Liz Manifold, so it’s only natural that those values that have been drummed into us follows in the way that we run the company. Equally, it’s important to us that, as the company has grown, the people that we employ and work with have the same outlook and values that are now part of our DNA (OK, so we don’t check on the clean pants thing, but you get my drift…).
With all the developments in the Third Sector over the past 18 months, there has been much made about transparency and integrity in the ways that charities, and those ancillary organisations who work on their behalf, conduct themselves and represent their cause to the good people of the UK. In an ever more competitive charity marketplace, there was a view propounded by the media that charities would stoop to any level to attain their fundraising targets, unscrupulously hounding and pressuring vulnerable members of the public to bully them into supporting their cause. Anyone who has worked either in or alongside the charity community knows that this ‘truth’ related to only a tiny proportion of the sector with the bulk of fundraisers working long and honest hours to improve the lot of those individuals their charities serve. However, change was called for and change is underway.
For everyone in the Third Sector and those companies that serve them, it has been a time of self-scrutiny and reflection. As a company that represents charities out in the business community, we too had to hold a mirror up to our work and ensure that it wasn’t lacking. Our business is based on speaking to companies within the charity’s catchment area seeking support advertising to go within publications that we provide free of charge to that charity. As we are acting on behalf of our charity clients, we believe that the Institute of Fundraising Code applies as much to us as it does to them. When the changes to the Code came into force earlier this year, we were not surprised to see that we were already completely compliant with everything requested. We already were fully conversant with the Code and had gone to many additional lengths to ensure a belt and braces approach. We’ve never sold, bought or shared data; we always conduct ourselves as Majestic acting on behalf of the charity to make sure that our dealings are all transparent; we have a Corporate Telephone Preference Service licence, just to name a few. We were incredibly proud of our FRSB accreditation and must be the only company who makes calls to the Fundraising Regulator (I speak to Ed there – lovely guy; they’re all settling in nicely) asking for greater scrutiny and accountability for companies such as ourselves (he thinks I’m a bit mad; he’s not wrong.)
There’s still a lot to be settled in the Third Sector, but we’re glad that by us listening to our mother and how she taught us to ‘do it honestly, or don’t do it at all’ (she also said something about not mixing the grape and the grain, but we tend to ignore that) means that we’re known and trusted by charities all over the UK and don’t intend, anytime soon, to betray that trust.