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Report: #862390

Complaint Review: Fund for the Public Interest - Boston Massachusetts

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Anon — Boston Massachusetts United States of America
  • Fund for the Public Interest 44 Winter Street Boston, Massachusetts United States of America

Fund for the Public Interest Also identifies as Environment Massachusetts. Don't walk, run away from this organization. Far away. Boston, Massachusetts

*General Comment: Agree with original poster

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You are bound to see advertisement enticing you to apply for this job through Craigslist, monster.com, college campuses, or a myriad of other websites or venues. They'll insist that you're making a difference. That you're working for the greater good of the environment. I assure, you are doing nothing of the sort. Firstly, this organization does a bunch of political lobbying. If you may be adverse to certain liberal issues as I am they don't disclose that your money will be going to that. 

The entire purpose of this job? Knocking on doors asking for donations. That's how you "help the environment." They identify themselves as "Environment Massachusetts" when really they're The Fund for the Public Interest. An organization that has minor involvement with their "advocates" to propose barely significant changes to the environment. While I can't claim to have been involved with any of this "advocacy," I was a canvasser for the organization for a total of 3 days. 

Most of the people "canvassing" are actually college-educated students, after conversing with many of them however I quickly realized WHY they were doing this work with some of the useless majors they attested to studying. Anywho, your first day you will go through an hour or two of training, then you'll by out canvassing, first you exit the office on winter street and go on foot either to the nearest MBTA station or to one of the canvassers car. You'll work closely with a field manager or canvass director for about an hour or two. Then by the time you knock on your first door...You will finally be on the clock...Oops...You didn't know? Yeah, FIVE hours later is when you'll actually be on the clock. You don't get paid up until you personally knock on your first door. 

Rain, cold, or sunshine, you'll find yourself pacing back and forth up 2-4 streets knocking on doors. You'll be out there till around 8:30ish disturbing people eating their dinner and get all sorts of unwelcoming reception to the houses you canvass. "Don't worry," my canvass directory, Joey, would tell me, insisting that there are some people okay with these antics. I figure 9 out of 10 people gave us not-so-warming welcome at their front doors. 

Job security in the company is a nonexistent. Again, I was let go after three days. My work history involves detailed experience as a sales rep being the recipient of many bonuses and praise by my managers. I've sold some of the most ridiculous products imaginable and for the life of me I could not see many people giving to this, which they didn't. You have a $125 quota you must be making daily otherwise you're basically yelled at by your directory, Joey. If you don't eventually rebound they assume it is inability on your part and you're let go.

Believe it or not I actually walked into this thinking I'd be doing serious advocacy as this job was related to my college studies. They say they want people passionate about the environment but the reality is all you need to be able to do is read off of a script. Anyone can do this, they may as well have put this in the talent section of Craigslist to catch the attention of starving actors waiting tables. Both would have the same effect. God only knows how much of these peoples donations actually go towards helping the environment as this money goes towards political lobbying and supporting or opposing the campaigns of politicians. 

This is my first non-profit company I've ever worked for and found it to be a complete and utter joke which greatly disillusioned the way I view non-profits now. I trust most don't operate in this fashion. Stay far far away from organization. Oh, and they promise you 9-12 dollars on the website? That is only if you make quota, you'll make $9 per hour. If you don't make quota you make $8. More false advertising. The case I make here is nothing. See a similar horror story by an actual canvass director that quit before he was fired: http://www.angelfire.com/indie/fundislying/FundIsLying.html

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/01/2012 08:34 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/fund-for-the-public-interest/boston-massachusetts-/fund-for-the-public-interest-also-identifies-as-environment-massachusetts-dont-walk-run-862390. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 General Comment

Agree with original poster

AUTHOR: Chuck - ()

POSTED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I agree with the original report. I was hired as an assistant canvass director in Philadelphia, but never actually took the job. When I initially interviewed in March of 2013, they described the job as mostly training canvassers, with 1 to 2 days of canvassing myself, and then didn't mention anything about my pay or performance rating being tied to canvassing. I'm not all that wild about the environment, and the pay sucked ($24,500 a year), but I figured it was the best I could do in my field. Then they stopped answering my emails for a couple of months. During this time my parents kept sending me links to websites like this one and telling me to back out. I assumed the links were all from disgruntled employees and didn't do anything to look for another job (silly me).

Finally they got back in contact and said that the person I had originally interviewed with had quit, supposedly to take care of her sick father (although now I wonder if she just got fed up with the place). By the time they got back in touch I was just about to graduate from college. About a week after I graduated they sent me an email saying they wanted me to start early. I was initially scheduled to start in late July, this would have had me starting the last week in May.

I couldn't find an apartment on such short notice, but I have a great-aunt in the area who graciously offered to let me stay in her mother-in-law suite. I emailed the Fund to tell them I could take the early position. A few days later, they called and told me that because they were expanding so fast, they no longer had need of an assistant director that early, but they would hire me as a canvasser.

At this point, I started to realize that the websites might be on to something. I told them I would prefer to just start as an assistant director at the original date. I lost contact again for a while, and when I called the office I was supposed to be starting at, they had no idea who I was. At this point, they still hadn't given me a detailed job description, but we started to plan the training session (they send you to Boston for some sort of training for a week and a half).

On July 10, less than three weeks before I was due to start, I got a phone call from the Pennsylvania state director. She wanted to go over the job before I started. As it was 9:00 pm and I was not within reach of a pencil and paper at the time, I said I'd call her back. When I did, she informed me that for the training period, lasting about a month, I would be canvassing four days a week. I would work from 11:00 am to 10:30 pm (note the last train leaves Philadelphia at 10:45) and have a quota that gradually rose from $125 in one day of a three day period to an average of $175 a day. Some of the websites said that people's pay had been docked if they didn't meet the quota, so I asked what would happen if I didn't

It turns out you get fired if you don't make quota. They claimed that the average is significantly higher than the quota, but didn't say what percentage of people make quota. I assume that they don't count people who get fired for not making quota, and that bumps the average up. According to a report by Dana Fisher of Columbia University, that's about 75 percent of the people who initially get hired to canvass. Fortunately, I got an interview for another job that was scheduled after my start date, so I told them I couldn't take the job. I have yet to get any acknowledgement that they received my email.

I would not suggest taking this job unless you are really desperate for work or have independent income combined with an overwhelming hatred of natural gas fracking. Don't relocate for it under any circumstances whatsoever. If I had bought into this any longer, I could well have found myself putting a non-refundable deposit on an apartment only to get fired within a month and have to slink back home. Fund for the Public Interest also advertises as PIRG, Environment America, Environment 'Name of State,' Work for Progress, and the Fair Share Alliance.

For more, see: 

http://ask.metafilter.com/145641/Should-I-take-this-job-from-the-Fund-for-the-Public-Interest

http://www.angelfire.com/indie/fundislying/FundIsLying.html

http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2009/07/-sidewalk-activism-strangling-progessive-politics-one-disillusioned-employee-at-a-time.html

Activism Inc, by Dana Fisher

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/07/15/the-liberal-sweatshop.html

http://burnedoutbypirg.wordpress.com/tag/fund-for-public-interest-research/

http://inthesetimes.com/article/2787/do_you_have_a_minute_for

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