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#33 The death of a salesman

As of July 2018, only two of Australia’s large F2F suppliers will offer commission-only fundraising as their sole-model. Does this mean that the industry has spoken and decided that this is not a model they wish to be linked with? Is this the final nail in the coffin?

Not yet. Whilst charities across the country are requesting base-wage employment, a few are hanging in there with the endangered remuneration structure. This has allowed suppliers to offer our NFPs the choice to use either the base-wage employee or commission-only contractor model. An interesting observation is that all the charities lining-up to start their own in-house teams are picking a base-wage model that mirrors the structure of their organisation. This means that the charities consider their fundraisers to be as important as any other member of their fundraising and marketing team.

I wonder how many in-house major gifts, bequests or digital fundraisers would work on a commission-only basis?

So why is there a movement away from the commission-only sub-contractor model? There are a few reasons, but the main one is the risk posed to their brand. Charities are petrified of receiving bad press, and not paying people what is considered fair is definitely bad press.

Many of Australia’s charities do not have the resources to hammer their brand and values into the public consciousness in the same way as corporations such as Nike, Apple or Telstra, so are afraid that one controversial or negative piece in the news might put potential donors off giving. In June last year we saw a piece in the media about one of Australia’s biggest suppliers, which led to multiple charities running for the hills by ditching the agency or ditching the channel around that time.[1] The fear is real because the consequences are real.

As mentioned in a previous post, the shift to base-wage employment is great news for working rights but will force fees upwards every time the minimum wage is raised, so we need to find ways to either lower the CPA or raise the LTV or this will be the next storm to hit face-to-face fundraising.


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