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AG Tips For Hiring A Professional Fundraiser
- Comparison shop
- Insist on a written contract
- Do not relinquish control to a professional fund raiser
- Ask questions first -- sign later
- Identify parties by correct, complete legal names and addresses
- Clearly describe the duties and responsibilities of both parties
- Identify the compensation to be paid -- a flat fee and/or percent
- Describe the flow and control of money
- Specify the split of funds -- how much the organization will get
- Clearly identify who will pay expenses -- set limits if possible
- Clearly specify the contract period, including settlement dates
- Specifically authorize or prohibit subcontractors
The organization is ultimately responsible for what is said and done. Review all scripts and written solicitations for accuracy. Any information that misleads the public violates Michigan law!
Remember -- your public image is your most important asset.
Ask Questions Before You Sign
- Are you licensed with the Charitable Trust Section?
Get a license number and call the Charitable Trust Section of the Department of Attorney General to verify the answer. Every licensed fund raiser is bonded to protect you and donors. If they handle funds, they must file a campaign financial statement following each campaign reporting funds raised, amounts paid out in expenses and amounts kept by the charity or public safety organization.
- What previous experience do you have with fund raising?
Ask the fund raiser for references. Call those organizations and ask about their experience with the fund raiser and what percentage of the funds raised they retained. Call the Charitable Trust Section and the Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed. Ask the Charitable Trust Section for copies of contracts or campaign financial statements from previous campaigns that have been filed with them. The campaign financial statements will tell you how the fund raiser has performed for other organizations.
- What services will you provide, and how?
Will the fund raiser solicit by mail, telephone, personal contacts, other methods? Who will develop material to be used -- scripts, scripted answers to questions, invoices, brochures? Will you have the opportunity to approve all materials? If the fund raiser has a standard contract, review a blank contract before you sign. Maintain control of what is said and how it is said. Insist on frequent progress reports throughout the campaign. Visit the phone room, ask how phone solicitors will be trained, and insist on supervision. Remember individual solicitors must be registered with the Charitable Trust Section, make sure these registrations are filed regularly.
- Who will handle the money?
Have checks be made out to your organization, not to the fund raiser. If a mail drop box is rented to collect donations, it is best if the organization collects the mail. Remember if you contract with an out-of-state fund raiser the only way to verify donations and expenses may be to visit their office!