Can You Work on Commission?

This is one of the most common questions we are asked when engaging new ministries or organizations in our services – will we work for commission? In fact, most organizations don’t ask, they just assume that this must be how we are compensated for our efforts.

Can You Work on Commission?However, the answer is no. Here-4-You Consulting does not and will not work on a commission, percentage, or bonus basis. We work on a flat fee for our services which are most commonly paid to us on a monthly basis and are based on an annual contract for services.

There are a number of reasons for this decision. The first and foremost reason is that the ethics of our profession state that it is not ethical to accept percentage or commission based compensation. This standard is repeatedly stated by the major organizations that set the standards for our field. This includes the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), The Grant Professionals Association, and the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

AFP’s Standards of Professional Practice include the following statements: “Members shall not accept compensation that is based on a percentage of charitable contributions; nor shall they accept finder’s fees.”

AFP holds that percentage based compensation can encourage abuses, imperils the integrity of the voluntary sector, and undermines the very philanthropic values on which the voluntary sector is based. AFP stands firm with its Standards of Professional Practice which prohibits members from working for percentage-based compensation or accepting finder’s fees.

In ECFA’s Standard 7.5, they explain compensation on commission or percentage basis as follows: “The underlying principle of this standard is the protection of the giver. It may be more convenient, more practical, and more cost efficient for an organization to pay staff or stewardship resource consultants based on a percentage of charitable gifts received. But these and other advantages to the organization do not protect the giver.”

In addition to the ethical issues, paying for services based on a flat fee acknowledges the value and worth of the services provided by Here-4-You Consulting. As Albert Anderson observes in his book Ethics for Fundraisers, “The set fee concept recognizes the value of professional counsel independently of the fund-raising outcome, which, of course, cannot be guaranteed.”

Our services not only secure funds for an organization, but they also help to develop the funding capacity of the organization for many years to come. Commission based fees assume that if no money is secured then nothing happened. This is far from reality. Organizations are always better positioned for securing funds after working with Here-4-You Consulting. They are better organized, better prepared to apply for funding, much more attractive to the funding sources to which they are applying, and have usually initiated relationships with those funding sources.

In addition, a contract for consulting services with Here-4-You Consulting provides clients with several tangible products, some of which are trademarked. These products include an Organizational Analysis of Funding Preparedness, at least one Master Grant Application™ and a Funding Source Report™.

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