Institute of Fundraising gets tough on payment by commission

Many charity and agency fundraisers are paid commission on the amounts they raise. But the institute's new draft rules strongly oppose such remuneration schemes

Face-to-face fundraisers
Face-to-face fundraisers

The Institute of Fundraising has hardened its stance on the payment of commission to fundraisers in a new draft code of practice.

The proposed code will cover all payment methods and replace the existing Payment of Fundraisers on a Commission Basis.

This document says that commission should be paid only in exceptional circumstances. The draft code says the IoF opposes commission altogether, but sets out conditions for those who do decide to pay it.

Charities should consider the effect of commission payments on the public perception of charities before using them, it says. Safeguards such as sliding scales or caps should be in place to stop excessive payments.

The proposed code says excessive remuneration could lead to the use of high-pressure techniques and "a breakdown in trust and confidence in individual organisations and the sector as a whole".

The draft code defines different types of fundraiser, such as employees, volunteers and consultants, and draws distinctions between the various forms of remuneration, such as salary, fee payment and performance-related pay.

A combination of payment methods could be adopted, it says, but all resources must be used "reasonably and prudently" and the remuneration of fundraisers must be proportionate to the expected benefit.

The code sets out for the first time the different legal guidelines governing how fundraisers should operate in England and Wales, and in Scotland. The consultation closes on 14 June.


- Commission should not be used unless specified conditions are met, such as safeguards against excessive remuneration

- Payment methods should not incentivise fundraisers to exert undue pressure

- Excessive remuneration could lead to a breakdown in trust and confidence

- The draft code can be viewed on the institute's website.

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