Mixed response on draft rules for fundraisers' commission payments

Institute of Fundraising 'unrealistic' and 'out of touch', say critics

The Institute of Fundraising's draft code of practice on the payment of commission to fundraisers has drawn a mixed response.

Some agencies and consultancies have already formed a view, but few charities are willing to speak about it yet.

The code, which emphasises the institute's opposition to commission, was put out to consultation last month (24 March, page 9).

Kevin Kibble, director of direct marketing firm Whitewater, said the document was aimed primarily at street fundraisers and was not specific enough. "This is trying to be a 'catch-all', and that's an unrealistic way to tackle it," he said. "It skirts around the big issue of payment by results and doesn't mention anything to do with internet or new media fundraising."

Guidance on remuneration relating to specific fundraising activities would be more effective, he said.

One sector fundraising expert, who did not want to be named, said the code was out of touch and that simply saying commission was a bad thing did not reflect the reality of the marketplace.

Robin Thomas, director of business development at consultancy Action Planning, said the code was pragmatic and practical. "It sets out with clarity the advantages and pitfalls of each form of remuneration and the safeguards that should accompany their use," he said.

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of the institute, responded that the code did not centre on street fundraising. "It covers all areas of fundraising," he said.

A prescriptive set of rules for all areas of fundraising would stifle innovation, he said: "It is up to the leadership of each charity to consider, conclude and then justify the approach it takes to each form of fundraising."

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