Quite often I am approached and asked if I will help people raise funds for their organisation on a commission basis. For example I may be be asked to help raise £50,000 for a particular legitimate and worthwhile charitable project, in return for perhaps 10% (£5,000) commission when the money arrives. I always refuse for four main reasons as follows.
1. As a member of the Institute of Fundraising (InF) my professional guidelines discourage such transactions.
2. As a professional I also know the value of my work and so if people have the means they should simply pay up front or don’t hire me in the first place.
3. Most funding bodies would not fund commission payments and would not consider it part of a social or charitable project. This would mean cutting back on money designated for other parts of the project, which is, not only wrong but also would likely jeopardise the success of the project anyway.
4. Years of commercial experience have taught me that when the £50,000 cheque arrives you’ve already concluded that £70,000 was in fact what you really needed and so that then makes it even harder (not to mention fraudulent) to simply write off 10% on a non-project item.
In the example above, if the organisation was so strapped for cash and capacity I would suggest that going for that £50,000 would be a wrong move anyway. Project funding is very specific and not recommended for organisations whom cannot already some way fund there day to day activities or core costs.
So in this case I would suggest they go for a small grant between £2,000 – £10,000 and explain to the funders that they want to hire a fundraising consultant. You should always be able to get an outline from any potential consultant as to what they can or would do for the organisation. This would also cover costs and timeframes involved and expected outcomes. Some consultants may charge for this in order to discourage timewasters but will often waive that once they know you are a serious prospect.
Potential funders include Awards for All, Local Government and a host of other grantmaking bodies. For small or new organisations they may also want to consider applying to cover the costs of purchasing a computer, broadband Internet access for a year and some administration costs.