The myth that small budget nonprofit organization cannot or should not pursue multimillion dollar campaigns is exactly that: a myth.The size of your nonprofit organization’s operating budget does not dictate its fundraising prowess.How do I know? The nonprofits who have been successful:A battered women’s shelter with an annual budget of $90,000 raises $2.1 millionA youth summer camp with an annual budget of $300,000 raises $8 millionA community arts groups with an annual budget of $160,000 raises $3.8 millionA statewide professional society with an annual budget of $40,000 raises $7 millionA small town Boys & Girls Club with an annual budget of $280,000 raises $2.5 millionA group helping sexually abused children with an annual budget of $450,000 raises $4.5 millionA community based drug and alcohol recovery organization with an annual budget of $150,000 raises $1.3 million and 30 months later raises another $1.1 million.There are more examples, but I think you get the point.There are always reasons not to pursue a comprehensive campaign:“The economy is poor.”“We don’t have enough staff.”“The board is not engaged.”“We don’t have answers to a lot of our questions answered yet (I call this one paralysis thru analysis).”“We have no big gift donors (and you won’t if you don’t do a campaign).”“There are groups currently doing campaigns in our city.”“We’ve never done a multi-million dollar campaign before.”And my personal favorite, “No one knows who we are (beyond money, campaigns serve to greatly increase the visibility and profile of an organization).”All of these dynamics were true for these nonprofit groups. Still, they went on to raise major dollars in service to the clients served by their nonprofit group.Each of these groups had a different mission and a different type constituency. What these successful organizations have in common is a desire to better serve their clients and to serve more people in need. These groups engaged fundraising counsel and each pursued a major campaign. On any given day they had their doubts and concerns about their fundraising, but each trusted and pressed forward with the fundraising process.Most importantly they did not allow their doubts and fears to delay or high-jack their ultimate goal of raising more money to better serve their clients.If an organization of any size allows the current view of itself, including the size of its annual budget, to influence its future it strikes me that its future will be much like its past.by a Hartsook Consultant guest blogger
Hartsook President and CEO Matthew J. Beem Earns Ph.D.
Beem family: Joe, Matt, Kate,
Tom (not pictured, Maggie)
(Kansas City) Matt Beem recently earned a doctor of philosophy in organizational behavior and higher education administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He defended his dissertation, Performance-Based Fundraiser Compensation: An Analysis of Preference, Prevalence and Effect, in December 2018.
Beem examined the preference for and prevalence of performance-based compensation and the relationship between it and productivity within the sample population of professional fundraisers. He reviewed the history of fundraiser compensation and prevalence of incentive pay in the nonprofit sector and among professional fundraisers, including its correlation to performance.
The Fundraiser Compensation Survey, an original study, was emailed by the Mid-America Chapter of Fundraising Professionals to more than 3,000 individuals. Findings revealed respondents’ dissatisfaction with the relationship between goal attainment, performance and compensation in their jobs. The study also found significant compensation differences based on respondents’ gender and ethnicity – findings different from research discussed in the literature review.
Beem’s dissertation adds important knowledge about the prevalence of and desire for performance-based compensation within the sample population. It also sheds light on the effect performance-based compensation has on the amount of money fundraisers raise.
Hartsook continues to be available to support nonprofit organizations in compensation plan design for its fundraisers, executive directors, CEOs and other senior leaders.