Many smart business people like to pay people based on a percentage of their performance. If you make more sales, get more contracts, you get a bigger cut of the business brought in. The number one question I have been asked over time is if I am paid though a percentage of grant funds that I obtain.
The answer is no – never. Like most other professionals, I charge a flat hourly fee. Development professionals who are members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals abide by a strict code of ethics that forbids percentage-based compensation, since it is a conflict of interest. What? Many business people work under a percentage-based model, you say. And that is correct.
But non-profit organizations are fundamentally different than for-profit organizations. The mission of a non-profit is not to make money, like their for-business counterparts, but rather to meet a community need. The business of philanthropy is to meet community needs, for which individuals get a tax write off. If you insert a person in between your organization and Ms. Big Donor or Mr. Foundation to raise money, you want to be sure that person has your best interest in mind, not theirs.