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What would it take to make your fundraising 100% more effective?

13 April 2015


 April 13, 2015

If you are a nonprofit board member, and you are wondering why your fundraising staff doesn’t stay, it may be because you are not paying them enough.

Recently I was talking with a nonprofit executive director who had put out a job description for a development officer role, and was paying $30,000 a year. She expressed surprise to me that they only had 9 applications for the job.

I told her, “it’s not that the job isn’t good, it’s that it’s paying too little for what you want them to do. You need to pay a higher hourly wage and have someone part time. Then you will reduce your turnover and encourage people to stay and help you succeed. Since the average nonprofit fundraising person stays 12-18 months in a role, the massive turnover helps keep most nonprofits small. This is why it’s important to pay someone enough that they want to stay and work hard for you. After 18 months, that is long enough for them to help you create relationships and become effective at fundraising for your nonprofit. ”

If you’re a nonprofit fundraising staff person, are you tired of making a tiny wage? Would you like to make more?

Why would it be a good idea for your nonprofit to pay you more?

This video about Kaffeine, a coffeeshop in London, explains why.

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“It’s not rocket science,” says Umair Haque. “If you pay people a pittance, you’re not going to get the best from them. So should you pay people over what others will pay? YES. It’s going to serve your donors better. It’s going to help people want to stay.”

“We have major problems with the global economy. There is not enough demand to keep these gears moving. And the great motive force of the global economy has been consumption. Without consumption going up again as a percentage of Global GDP, the world is in a depression and it will stay in a depression. So the only way that we can get out of this depression is if wages go up.”

So if you want our global economy to improve, if you want to keep your staff longer and not have massive turnover, if you want to get more and more fundraising dollars for your nonprofit, then you need to be thinking about how to pay people more. Even if you have them part time instead of full time to start. When you pay people more, they can afford to relax, take time to take care of themselves, and they will be more productive when they do come in to work for you.


2 responses on “Are you tired of making a tiny wage?

  1. Emma Crane says:

    My nonprofit, and I hear this is common, has come down on me several times about how I am not “raising enough to cover my salary.” I have been in the job for a year and a half, with little intention to stay although the mission is dear to me, and my salary is just under $30,000. It’s nice to hear that it’s too low, but my E.D., although she is pushing for higher wages, also accompanies it all with “you’re not raising enough.”

    I’m a newbie in the non profit world, coming here from a double career in music entertainment. Would love to hear more advice about this, although I could not attend the conference (Spring appeal due this week!)


    • 4w3s0mE says:

      hi Emma,

      Thank you so much for sharing. Your ED really is not understanding that if she pays you more, you’ll be even more motivated to raise more. There’s a lot I could say about this, feel free to give a call at the number on the top of the website, would be happy to give more advice on the phone.