Part 3: Thoughts on commission-based fundraising

No donor, big or small, wants to see large amounts of their donations going to individuals outside your organization. So what is the alternative to commission-based fundraising?

First, ensure that you appear credible and a low-risk donor investment (i.e. reduce the non-programme reasons to turn you down). Among the issues to address may be being appropriately registered (NPO, PBO), transparency (available annual report, audited statements, bank details, street address, informative website), credible board (a board that has an acceptable demographic profile, no personal vested interest or conflicts of interest, limited tenure, a guiding constitution or manifesto, meets regularly, has appropriate sub-committees) and a track record (not only of programme delivery, but of proper management of donor funds).

Second, see cost-saving as a form of reversed fundraising and pursue it aggressively. Every Rand saved through carefully managing spending is a Rand that doesn’t have to be raised. Again, be mindful that donors want to see their funds spent directly on your beneficiaries.

Third, invest in proving your success through independent monitoring and evaluation, showcasing client testimonials, forming supporter groups and savvy media and marketing campaigns. Donors will be more convinced of your success when they are able to corroborate your version independently.

Finally, do whatever you have to grow your own fundraising capacity. Outsourced fundraising goes against the current trend of seeing fundraising as part of a sound administrative infrastructure that supports programme delivery and long-term sustainability. Ensure that someone in your organisation is contractually bound to raise funds (bring in an expert over the short term to mentor or train the person if necessary). Invest in staff fundraising training, a donor database and cost-effective marketing (social media, internet, word of mouth, media events, newsletters, email). Find ways to grow and diversify income opportunities. Develop a long-term investment strategy that will reduce or eliminate the need to fundraise.

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