Fund Raising Campaigns - If your nonprofit organization is planning a fund-raising campaign, you may be considering hiring a professional to do the work. Professional fund-raisers conduct campaigns for a fee; often, it's a percentage of the money they collect.

Because the fund-raiser will be representing your organization to potential donors, it's important to investigate every firm you're considering hiring. Inappropriate behavior by a fund-raiser can result in negative publicity for your organization, fewer or smaller donations, and possible legal action involving you and the firm in the case of legal violations.

Choosing a Fund-Raiser

A little research will help ensure that you're working with a reputable fund-raiser. Contact other nonprofit groups in your area for information and referrals - especially colleges, hospitals and cultural organizations. You also may want to contact your local community fund or an association of professional fund-raisers in your community.

Once you've compiled a list of potential fund-raisers, call them for background information. Get written information about each, including a blank contract. Then, schedule interviews and ask how they would conduct your campaign:

  • Would they solicit by phone, mail, door-to-door, or use a combination of approaches?
  • Would they solicit money only - or would they sell products or tickets to events?
  • What portion of the donation would come to your organization - and what portion will the fund-raiser take? Stay away from companies that promise something for nothing or "easy money" for your organization.
  • Would subcontractors be used for any part of the campaign?
  • How would the fund-raiser make sure its telephone solicitors follow approved scripts?

When you're interviewing, be clear that while the fund-raiser would conduct the campaign, you would maintain overall control and expect the company to provide periodic financial reports. Ask to see financial data from other campaigns to get a picture of their successes.