Professional Fundraiser and Fundraising Professional

Sections of this topic

    A professional fundraiser and fundraising professional

    Last week I went off on “professional fundraisers,” and, in passing, referred to Fundraising Professionals. I think I made it clear that I was opposed to the use of the vast majority of those “professional fundraisers” who raise the money for you.

    And, now, to clarify the differences between the two, and the reasons you should favor one over the other, I offer the following:

    The so-called, “professional” fundraiser
    • Has little, if any, background/training/experience in development
    • Is interested in dollars, not people
    • Usually gives the NPO an unethically-small percentage of the total dollars raised
    • Has no commitment to establishing relationships between “donors” and the NPO
    • Has no interest in helping the NPO create a donor base
    • Doesn’t always provide the NPO with a list of who gave what amount
    • Has no interest in helping the NPO create an ongoing funding stream – unless
    you hire them on an ongoing basis
    • And, most States require registration by fundraising consultants and professional
    fundraisers require (only) the latter to be bonded. Wonder why that is ??

    Fundraising Professionals
    • Have an understanding of the relationships that must exist between donors and NPO
    • Have had mentoring and/or formal training in development
    • Have broad experience in development
    • Have developed expertise in one-or-more areas of the development process
    • Work with you to create a constituency
    • Work with you to create a donor base
    • Work with you to create relationships between your donors and your NPO
    • Work with you to establish realistic fundraising goals
    • Who are employees of NPOs, who work for a salary, never a commission/percentage
    • Who are consultants, work for a fee (agree upon in advance, but not paid in advance)
    based on services/expertise to be provided, never a commission/percentage


    Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating, or expanding your fundraising program? With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs, and the planning studies to precede these three, I’ll be pleased to answer your questions. Contact me at


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