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How to Budget for Fundraising Growth

Many charities focus on keeping fundraising and other overhead costs to a bare minimum, and their annual development budgets reflect that.

But extensive research by the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy and others has shown that budgeting more for administrative costs in the development office — particularly salaries of fundraisers who focus on large gifts — results in substantially increased contributions. And the gains in gift income exceed the added costs.

There’s a difference, however, between budgeting for regular fundraising operations and budgeting for a capital campaign, which seeks bigger jumps in giving.

For one thing, fundraising costs fluctuate more in a capital campaign, says Karen Greene, a Marts & Lundy fundraising consultant. In the first two to three years of the campaign, when new fundraisers come on board and begin building relationships with donors, she says, costs can equal up to 40 percent of the amount raised, she says. In later years of the drive, costs are much lower.

Use the following resources from The Chronicle to understand and create budgets that boost giving to your organization.