Fundraising For Whose Good?

Fundraising is changing. But some things remain depressingly the same. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that “(n)ew figures from the California attorney general's office show that solicitation firms pocketed nearly half of the money they raised on behalf of nonprofits last year…” That’s why I won’t give to people who come knocking on my door for charitable gifts and am loathe to give on line unless I know, really know, that the organization itself has organized and is running the calling. While I don’t believe particularly that nonprofits need to have the lowest overhead in creation, I do think that monies raised should go to the organization for which it was given.

Personally, I’m okay if a fair share goes to pay reasonable salaries to the staff who do such a good job, or to provide other necessary resources to meet their important missions. But I’m not okay paying for another business’s profit.

Not all third party vendors are so predatory. The same report in the Chronicle mentions the fundraising platform Network for Good. “Groups that used its software,” says the Chronicle, “raised $230.6 million last year and kept 97 percent.”

That, I would agree, is definitely for the good.


Janet Levine works with nonprofits, helping them to increase fundraising results and motivate their boards. Learn more at While there, sign up for the free monthly newsletter and contact Janet for a free 30 minute consultation.