Is it right or even ethical for fundraisers to be paid a commission is something I’m often asked, and the answer depends on a number of things.  

Are the fundraisers ’employed’ and earning a wage as well as commission, are they commission only agents, or are they an external agency.

People doing any work should be rewarded and charity fundraisers are no different, it should be clear to people making donation where their donation goes (see Being an open book), anyone making a donation shouldn’t feel that they can’t ask – they have every right to ask. 

Charities and fundraisers should be prepared to answer questions from donors, they have an obligation to be open and upfront. 

Some things that charities, fundraisers, and donors should think about are: 

  •  Donors may lose faith, trust in the organisation when they learn of ‘personal gain’
  • Some fundrasisers could be seen as using ‘hard sell’ techniques to get the donation.
  • Does personal gain come first, does the interests of the charity suffer?
  • Are commission based fundraisers only doing it for the money, do they believe in the work of the organisation?

 There is an element of ‘so long as the charity receives a donation it doesn’t matter who gains from it’ – perhaps this is true. 

Does your organisation pay fundraisers a commission, if so, do you find you gain more in donations? 

Are you a fundraiser earning a commission – what drives you the potential income you can personally earn or the income you can earn for the organisation you are raising funds for? 

Would you give to a charity knowing that a percentage of what you give is paid as commission to an ‘agent’? 


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