Having joined HOME as a fundraiser with the Glasgow team in 2010, David Muntz rapidly progressed, becoming Fundraising Regional Manager in Norwich just four years later and leading the region to win HOME’s top accolade of Region of the Year in 2015/16 and 2016/17. David talks through his career progression and the importance of living HOME’s values.
How did you first get into fundraising?
To be honest, I hadn’t specifically set out with the idea of working in fundraising. But, when I was younger, I’d volunteered in a charity shop and enjoyed that. When I left university, I saw an advert for a fundraiser and the idea really grew on me. And here I am, eight years later.
What expectations did you have?
I didn’t know what to expect, but I quickly settled into the role. I worked with a great team in Glasgow and had some really solid training about the right way to talk through charity campaigns and pitch for funds, which meant I started getting results quite quickly. I found it to be an incredibly enjoyable job and I was promoted soon after that.
It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to progress so quickly. This really encourages strong fundraisers – those that take it seriously – to stay, learn and develop with the company.
What does it mean to be a regional manager with HOME?
Essentially, I’m responsible for making sure the Norwich region is operating as it should and that we are managing our campaigns properly and meeting clients’ expectations. Although I rarely go out fundraising any more, my focus is now on how I can affect others and have a greater impact, leading and developing teams of fundraisers in the region. The managers that work with me are pretty incredible, they want to do a great job and that certainly helps.
What has been your proudest moment in your fundraising career at HOME?
As a fundraiser with HOME, the praise, recognition and respect of our peers is really important. Within that culture, we all want to do our best and being acknowledged by your peers is the greatest accolade. HOME’s awards for the top-performing regions and teams is a huge deal for us all; it’s an opportunity to celebrate how hard we have worked.
So, moving to Norwich as the regional manager and then winning ‘Region of the Year’ in my first full year in the role was certainly my proudest moment. I really feel that the team I have in Norwich is remarkable and that’s why we went on to win the same award again in 2016/17. Who knows if we can do it again this year!
At HOME, you expect high standards of everyone in your team. How can you ensure that your fundraisers all maintain best practice?
When you’ve got the right structures and values in place, it shouldn’t be difficult. We have industry standards setting out best practice, but it’s HOME’s policies and procedures and training that take this even further, guiding our teams how to fundraise really well. This really cements our cultural drive to do things right, ethically.
We have a range of checks in place like GPS tracking, mystery shopping and a complaints procedure, but we also encourage clients to come and see us in action and get a better understanding of what we do.
More than anything, I think it’s important to model those behaviours and the approach you expect to see from people that work with you. Right from the word go, you need to make it clear that you care about things being done in the right way. This starts from the initial interview session and assessment where we talk about the importance of doing things properly and not cutting corners. This might mean pulling back from a supporter before they sign up if it doesn’t feel right and you have concerns that they might be vulnerable in some way. Essentially, we are here to help people that want to support charities - not to persuade them to do something they aren’t sure about. And I’m a big believer that if you genuinely care about doing things right, that people around you will care about that too.
Why are ethics so important to HOME?
Being ethical is not just the right thing to do, but it is the only thing that makes sense as a business. It’s built into our values, our culture and ethos. It’s really important to us that we help charities find those people that really do care about their work and want to help and that’s why we’re so committed to doing it right and to demonstrating that with our ISO9001 accreditation too.
Of all HOME’s values, honesty is probably the most important thing for me. It makes all the difference when this is embedded across our fundraising teams. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s so important that we instil this approach. Everyone at HOME is encouraged to be completely honest with those around us – especially when it comes to talking through any difficulties we might face and how to handle it. The emphasis isn’t on judgement but resolving things together and being willing to admit any mistakes. This makes life so much easier and we can really support each other.
Having led the team that has won the top region award at HOME for the past two years, how do you get the most out of the teams and fundraisers in your region?
At HOME, we talk about our values and philosophies a lot and I believe success comes when we really embody those values and model the good behaviours we want to see across our teams. It’s really just a case of doing what we’ve been trained to do.
I started out fundraising in a hugely successful region in Glasgow. When I moved to Norwich, I had the opportunity of bringing that expertise to the region and to the teams I was working with. That meant applying the same universal values of respect, honesty and acceptance, which are so important in bringing people together.
Everyone wants to be respected and trusted. So, in terms of managing a team, it’s important to be honest and open and to show them that we care. I remind all our teams that they should feel confident about asking for help and advice if they need it and that they must believe in themselves and connect with why they’re doing it, to be passionate about what we’re doing.
People feel that they are valued when they are part of a workplace that recognises the importance of those things. But we’ve also got to ensure that everyone in the team understand our purpose – why we do what we do and how important it is that we do it right. If you come to a job because you want to make a difference, that makes it much easier to perform well.