Appco UK: frequently asked questions

Contacting us

How do I contact Appco Group UK?

Whether you want to give a positive review or make a complaint, we welcome your feedback. All comments are taken into consideration and used to make our service and business even better.

Please either email us at customerservices@appcogroup.co.uk, or write to us at: Customer Services, Appco Group UK, Studio 320, Highgate Studios 53-79 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TL

How do I provide positive feedback or make a complaint about a face-to-face brand ambassador?

We speak to almost 500,000 people every week in the UK, and the vast majority of those people enjoy their interactions with the fundraisers and brand ambassadors in our network.

However, we understand that there are times when you need to advise us of areas where we could improve. That’s why Appco Group UK has a dedicated contact centre, which customers and donors can contact if they have any queries or concerns about the work we do.

Your query will be treated with the utmost consideration and, if it can’t be dealt with directly by our contact centre team, it will be forwarded to the Appco UK staff member who is best placed to assist you further.

For general enquiries please contact us on: 020 7424 3700

Face-to-face sales and fundraising

Why would a company choose direct sales over TV, online or glossy ads to advertise their product, service or charity?

It’s usually not a case of either/or. Most organisations use a mixture of different advertising channels to get their message across. But we believe that people still respond best to people – and we’re not alone.

An article on New Zealand’s Monthly Giving website identifies that the number-one reason people donate is because they’ve been asked.

Face-to-face sales and fundraising also delivers powerful returns on investment because it is more cost-effective than a TV or billboard campaign and, perhaps more importantly, the results are traceable and measurable.

It’s very hard to tell if a customer bought a product because they glanced at a billboard, but very easy to know if they purchased due to a face-to-face interaction.

Why do charities pay Appco Group to fundraise on their behalf?

The simple answer is because it works – and the results are much more measurable, unlike TV campaigns, newspaper adverts and billboards.

On average, every month in the UK, we secure more than 22,000 donors for our charity partners, which means that between them they receive more than £5 million in donations – every month (based on a donor giving for an average of four years).

At Appco, we believe we should only get paid in full for those donors who have made a number of monthly donations. This helps ensure our charity partners are acquiring committed donors and an ongoing revenue stream to plan and fund their causes.

In the UK in 2014, we generated more than £60 million in donations for our charity clients. Like us, they believe that, without the professional fundraising model we offer, they would struggle to maintain the funding they need to provide for the good causes they represent.

How much do charities pay you to fundraise for them?

Appco Group UK uses a performance-based model, which means the onus is on us to deliver committed, long-term, regular-giving donors because charities only pay us for the donors we deliver.

Contracts with our charity clients are agreed on a campaign basis, and payments to Appco Group UK come from the charities' pre-allocated fundraising budgets (which may, for example, also include TV and billboard advertising).

We are paid by a charity for each supporter recruited who then donates for a certain period of time.

This is a one-off payment per donor from a pre-allocated fundraising budget. All donations made by people signed up by the face-to-face fundraisers in our network go directly to the nominated charity.

The Appco Group model

How does the relationship between Appco, the marketing companies and brand ambassadors work?

There tends to be a bit of confusion around this, but it’s really quite simple once you have the correct information.

Appco UK sits in the middle and, on one side, directly manages relationships with its clients. On the other side, Appco also contracts independent marketing companies to provide the self-employed brand ambassadors (BAs) who represent Appco’s clients on face-to-face sales and fundraising campaigns.

Take a look at our diagram below for a simple visualisation of our model.

FR infographics

All BAs have the option to progress to building their own team and eventually owning their own marketing company, with access to the support and experience of the Appco UK network.

Does Appco operate under a range of other names?

Appco Group does not operate under any other names. It is sometimes confused or interchanged with its parent company, the Cobra Group of Companies – of which Appco Group is a subsidiary.

In all markets in which Appco Group operates, we conduct marketing and customer acquisition campaigns on behalf of our clients, using their branding to ensure maximum awareness and understanding of their products, services and worthy causes.

Employees vs self-employed contractors

Who works at Appco UK?

At the UK head office in London there are about 150 people employed by Appco to service our clients and support our independent marketing company network and the self-employed brand ambassadors they contract.

We are, if you will, the conduit between our clients and the marketing/field sales network. Our Charity, Home Delivery, Home Efficiency and Solar teams are experts in their sectors and work with their clients to develop face-to-face campaigns that will deliver their customer or donor-acquisition objectives.

Why doesn’t Appco employ its brand ambassadors?

In the UK, field sales and fundraising representatives are contracted, on a self-employed basis, to independent marketing companies in our network.

For more than 25 years, our self-employment model has given thousands of people, here in the UK and across the world, the opportunity to define their own career paths and levels of commitment and income. Whether you simply want to earn money while studying or travelling, or you’re planning to build your own business in direct sales, there are opportunities for you within the Appco network.

There is another benefit to our self-employment model, this time for our clients. We believe very strongly in delivering quality customers and donors for our clients, not just quantity. Brand ambassadors are paid on performance, for each customer or donor they sign up who then stays on for a certain period of time. This will vary, depending on the agreement with the client.

This model discourages pressure selling and ensures that brand ambassadors are encouraged to engage with people and have meaningful, informative conversations to identify whether they have a genuine interest, need for and/or affinity with the product, service or charitable cause.

Does Appco exploit its workers?

No. We are transparent about our model, and provide detailed information on how we operate in each country under Field Representatives on each regional website.

Brand ambassadors are contracted on a self-employed, commission-only basis. This means entrepreneurial people can choose flexible working opportunities and have the ability to define their own career paths.

The model allows them to determine their level of commitment and effort, and take full control of their income and life choices. They can also tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience to allow them to develop on a personal and business level, with an opportunity to create and grow their own business venture.

Myths & misconceptions

Appco is an offshoot of and/or connected to Cydcor and DS-Max.

This is absolutely incorrect. Appco was not founded as an offshoot of Cydcor or DS-Max. Appco Group’s Founder & Chairman Chris Niarchos did not work for DS-Max and he founded his own organisation (Cobra Group, of which Appco is a subsidiary) as a completely separate entity.

Brand ambassadors are brainwashed in order to perform their day-to-day roles.

We are the first to admit that door-to-door sales and fundraising is not for everyone. As well as direct sales ability, the role requires hard work, perseverance and the ability to maintain a positive attitude on the days when you don’t make the sales you were aiming for. And while brand ambassadors (BAs) may work in teams within an area, you do spend a proportion of your day working on your own.

For these reasons, it is important to provide opportunities for people to meet and share their experiences, ask for advice and, yes, be motivated by others’ success. The independent marketing companies that BAs are contracted to usually facilitate morning meetings for this exact purpose, and the majority of BAs in the network find they are useful. It is also a very easy way for BAs to find out if there are any changes to the product or campaign they are representing.

Appco Group itself also holds various events throughout the year to allow people from across the network to get together, understand how Appco can support their business development, learn from those who’ve achieved success in the direct sales industry and be motivated and inspired to achieve their own goals.

Again, we understand that this environment is not to everyone’s taste, but we are proud of the thousands of BAs across the globe who are currently working hard and enjoying what they do.

Why do some articles and people say Appco is a scam?

The Appco Group model is often misunderstood, or not explained as clearly as it could be. It also must be said that door-to-door sales and fundraising is not for everyone and, sometimes, those who have not enjoyed it exercise their right to describe their experiences online.

But that doesn’t give the full or accurate picture of what we do. It also doesn’t reflect the positive experiences that literally thousands of field representatives past and present have had within the Appco network. And finally, it does not account for the countless clients – numerous household names among them – that have chosen to work with us over the 25 years we have been in business.

In every country in which we operate, including right here in the UK, Appco Group complies with all relevant laws and codes of practice for every sector in which it operates. In the UK, we also work in close consultation with industry and sector bodies, including the Institute of Fundraising, Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, Ofgem, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Gambling Commission and the Lotteries Council.

Appco Group UK is also a member of the Direct Marketing Association and an associate member of the Direct Selling Association (the national trade association for the direct sales channel), both of which thoroughly vet all of their members to ensure they comply with their exacting standards.

Is Appco a pyramid-selling scheme?

No, Appco is not a pyramid scheme. A pyramid scheme requires people to personally contribute financially and they are then paid for recruiting people into the business.

No one within Appco’s operational model is paid in this way, nor are they ever required to make a personal financial contribution to the business.