If I had a nickel for every time I was asked if I’d work for a percentage of funds raised, I’d be a rich man. But fundraisers that have been in the field far longer than my measly 10 years have long been against this practice.

The idea appeals to the entrepreneur in me. There’s a great deal of common sense in getting paid for your performance. When I start a business, I’m only paid on what works.

But since 1964, the AFP consistently says it’s an unethical way to do fundraising. I’ve tried to explain it as a fear that I’ll take advantage of a little old lady, getting her to give more than she should, so that I can pay my mortage.

Not all fundraisers join AFP or agree that this is an ethical problem. But how many more stories of tele-fundraisers that keep 70% – 80% of the donations they take in for fraternal police organizations and other charities do we need to hear before we agree there are abuses?

Now, according to the blog Don’t Tell the Donor, the AFP is trying to get this percentage injunction banned by Congress. According to the post:

The AFP maintains that percentage based fundraising is unethical because:

  • charitable mission becomes secondary to personal gain
  • donor trust can be unalterably damaged
  • there is incentive for self-dealing to prevail over donors’ best interests
  • the very philanthropic values on which the voluntary sector is based are undermined.

What do you think? Should Congress ban this practice?

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how charities can in good conscience sign these 80% deals!

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