Every complaint matters

The Charity Commission recently conducted a review of complaints and reports that had been submitted to them. They found that people generally have high expectations of charities and then understandably feel let down when those expectations are not met.

It’s important that the Commission treat all complaints seriously and make sure no complaint is ignored. In addition to treating the complaint seriously there are learning experiences to be gained and shared to ensure others understand the issues that give rise to complaints.

The findings and themes fell into four main categories:

  1. People who complain are usually people you know, and they complain about charities of all shapes and sizes not just the national names.
  2. Charities need to be accountable, explaining issues and listening properly up front can save time and effort later – to be truly accountable you need to go through more than just the motions, don’t tick boxes instead consider how transparency can be achieved.
  3. Don’t take your status as a charity and the public’s support for granted – passion in a charity is vital but not to the exclusion of good behaviour and sound decision making.
  4. How you do something is as important as what you do – compliance is essential but attitudes and behaviour embedded throughout an organisation is similarly as important, culture can build trust.

In conclusion the report notes that Charities should lead the way in taking public expectations seriously. And whilst people do complain they do so because they care and without that strength of feeling Charities would be without the supporters and volunteers that are so essential to the lifeblood of the third sector.

The full article can be read here