When another organization, group of people, or an individual offers to raise funds or collect in-kind donations for the benefit of your nonprofit, it is generally a cause for celebration! Free money is terrific. No strings attached…no work involved…no fundraising expenses for you….or is it? What if the outside entity makes promises your organization couldn’t keep? What if the outside group provided inappropriate receipts or acknowledgements for the gifts? What if the noncash gifts received included items that you could not use or sell? What if the organization raised funds in a manner counter to your organization’s culture or mission? For instance, you may be very likely to accept funds raised in an weekend-long baseball tournament, but may shy away from gifts raised in conjunction with a beer chugging contest.
The Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector® states that nonprofits “should exercise control over any staff, volunteers, consultants, contractors, other organizations, or businesses who are known to be soliciting contributions on behalf of the organization.”
Toward this end, nonprofits should take care to work in partnership with those known to be raising funds for their efforts. And, nonprofits should work diligently to become aware of all outside entities raising money on their behalf. A few hints to keep in mind include: approving all uses of your organization’s name and/or logo, entering into an agreement (whether it’s a formal contract or some other type of written breakdown of responsibilities, expectations, restrictions, or requirements), and being involved in the event’s development and planning in as significant a manner as you feel is appropriate under the circumstances (you may want to consider recruiting a staff or volunteer representative of your organization).
Did you know? The Standards for Excellence® Educational Resource Packet, “Employment of Fundraising Personnel and Fundraising Consultants” includes a full discussion of this topic and a sample agreement for working with organizations raising money on your behalf. The packet is free and available to Standards for Excellence Institute® members. It is available through the members only section of our website. Hard copies are also available upon request.