Fundraising on commission?

Howard Lake | 26 June 1998 | News

Should fundraisers be paid on a commission basis? Graham Collings, a committee member of the ICFM Consultants’ Group, addresses this issue in this month’s ICFM Update. He concludes that there are too many problems that can arise, hence the disapproval of the practice by the Charity Commission and the ICFM.

His arguments against paying fundraisers on commission are:
– donors, whether individuals or trusts, would not be pleased to know that the more they give to the charity, the more the individual fundraiser would benefit.
– fundraising is often a team process, so no individual should receive the lion’s share of the fee
– if a commission-based fundraiser secures a tax-efficient and regular gift, does s/he receive a percentage of the tax reclaim, and for every subsequent year of the donation?
– payment by results can encourage an unwelcome concentration on short-term success.
– raising £10 million is not ten times more difficult than raising £1 million, so a commission-based scheme would net such a fundraiser ten times as much commission.
– fundraisers would naturally opt for high-profile charities with a better chance of fundraising success and ignore the smaller, less well-known organisations.
– most fundraising activity involves strategy rather than direct soliciting of funds so the fundraiser’s strategic skills are ignored by a commission-based scheme


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