19.0 Payment of Fundraisers

KEY: * denotes legal requirement 

19.1 Legal References for this Section


19.2 Scope

This section applies to all organisations engaged in paying fundraisers, no matter what the specific fundraising technique involves or who they are employed by, for example, be it the fundraising organisation themselves or another professional organisation.


19.3 Overarching Principle

a) All funds MUST* be used reasonably and prudently in the interest of the fundraising organisation. This involves ensuring that remuneration of fundraisers is proportionate to the benefit reasonably expected to be obtained.


19.4 Choosing the Appropriate Payment Mechanism

a) Practices and controls MUST be in place to ensure that payment methods do not leave the fundraiser or organisation out of pocket. 


19.5 Excessive Remuneration

a) Payments to fundraisers MUST NOT* be excessive. For the purposes of this code, an excessive payment should be regarded as one which is considerably more than an ordinary, well-informed person would consider reasonable.

b) Where appropriate, maximum caps or reducing sliding scales MUST be used to avoid excessive remuneration. 

19.6 Commission

a) The Institute of Fundraising opposes commission payments in principle, particularly those payments made on a commission-only basis. Organisations MUST NOT use commission payments unless the following conditions are met:

  • other sources of fundraising investment have been explored and exhausted;

  • payments are subject to approval by the fundraising organisation’s trustees, or senior executives when power has been delegated; and

  • safeguards are in place to ensure excessive remuneration is not permitted.


19.7 Performance Management Systems

a) Robust performance management systems MUST be in place, recognising the impact of the payment method on the fundraiser, the fundraising organisation, the beneficiaries and the public at large.

b) Remuneration systems MUST be monitored to ensure that they continue to strike a balance between allocating risk and incentivising fundraisers effectively.


19.8 Individuals’ Requirements

19.8.1 Staff

a) Where an employment relationship exists, the employer MUST* ensure that their chosen method of remuneration meets the Employment Rights Act 1996 (in Northern Ireland The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996), and MUST* comply with the minimum wage rules in the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.

Further information is available from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.


19.8.2 Professional Fundraisers

a) Those freelance fundraisers and consultants who fall within the legal definition of a professional fundraiser MUST* comply with the applicable legal requirements.


19.8.3 Volunteers

a) Volunteers MUST only have their out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed.


19.8.4 Trustees

a) Trustees MUST NOT* be paid for fundraising on behalf of the organisation unless specific criteria are met (which differ according to jurisdiction). 

There is more information about the payment of fundraising in the Payment of Fundraisers guidance.