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I really like our March cover story called “Test Your Fundraising IQ.” It’s definitely worth a good read.

And it got me thinking about my most fundamental belief when it comes to fundraising: Groups spend too much time worrying about products and profit percentage and too little time thinking about the people they are going to partner with to run the fundraiser.

The people are the most important consideration. By far.

A good sales rep from a reputable fundraising company is going to have a quality product. But that rep is going to do so much more than provide product. He is going to be responsive and helpful and solve problems and add ideas that will make you money and reduce work and drama. If you’ve had good luck with a rep or a company, resist the annual temptation to change gears. If you had bad service last year, resist the promise that this year will be better. Above all, resist the profit percentage promises that are so easy to manipulate.

Your goal isn’t the highest profit percentage; it’s the highest final profit with happy parents and still-sane volunteers. And you reach those goals by working with the best reps and the best companies. (Here’s a column I wrote about the value of great fundraising sales reps a few years back.)

Good luck!