Paying bonuses 'is not unethical'

Brendan Eley of the Healing Foundation says his charity does not share the general aversion to the practice in the voluntary sector

Brendan Eley
Brendan Eley

The chief executive of a charity that pays bonuses to its major gift fundraisers told delegates yesterday that he was surprised at the general aversion to the practice in the voluntary sector.

Brendan Eley of the Healing Foundation, which funds research into disfigurement and relies solely on raising money from major donors, was speaking at a session entitled Major Gift Fundraising: what is really happening in the UK today?

The session looked at findings from a new report by the corporate social responsibility agency Good Values and the Institute of Fundraising, which was based on a survey of fundraising directors or heads of major gift teams from 88 charities.

It found that only one of the organisations offered financial incentives or bonuses to major gift fundraisers, because they thought it was unethical.

Eley told delegates he was surprised at this finding and said his charity did pay bonuses: "There is a sense that it is unethical to pay bonuses, but at least seven members of our board of trustees are themselves significant donors and they approved full bonuses for our fundraisers," he said.

Eley said the charity raised between £1.5m and £1.8m a year from major donors and has an executive appeal team including Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of BSkyB, and David Ross, co-founder of the Carphone Warehouse.

Another key finding of the report was that 65 per cent of the respondents said it took from 18 months to three years to build a successful major gifts programme.

- Read more on this year's IoF National Convention

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