Should I Pay My Campaign Fundraiser On Commission?

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

campaign fundraising

Campaign Fundraising and Your Campaign Fundraiser

Here is a frequently reoccurring campaign fundraising story:

A candidate hires a campaign fundraiser. The fundraiser helps organize the candidates call time, and the candidate calls friends and family and in the first month. The candidate raises a lot of money and pays her campaign fundraising consultant $15,000 in commission. The consultant is happy, but the candidate is not. She feels like she could have raised the money without the fundraiser and the relationship is poisoned. The fundraiser tries to get the candidate on track, but the candidate doesn’t work as hard the next month. The consultant and the candidate split.  

So should you pay a campaign fundraising commission? No, but likely not for the reason you think. Campaign fundraisers are worth every penny they get paid, but clarity in a business relationship is critical. It is simpler for finance directors and consultants to get a monthly fee. That way what they make is transparent. 

There are good fundraising consultants out there who take a percentage because they feel like that is the only way they can get paid, but be careful if you decide that a commission is what you need to pay. Make sure you’re clear on what that percentage is.  

So how is a campaign fundraiser getting paid on commission different than when I buy media and get paid on a media commission? Timing and clarity are part of it. Media commissions happen later in a campaign and budgets with their associated commissions are approved ahead of time. 

The bottom line is that you need to know what you are paying your campaign fundraising consultant or any political consultant for that matter. If it is unclear, ask and get it in writing. Remember, everything is negotiable including fundraising commissions and media commissions. Want to learn more about building your campaign team?  Check out our ebook on jumpstarting your political campaign.