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.
May 28, 2015
Budgeting For Fundraising Growth: Where to Start
Before coming up with a viable budget to increase fundraising returns, organizations must first assess the strengths and weaknesses of its current development operation.
September 16, 2015
A Measurement Tool to Track Fundraising Costs and Returns
How to track your organization's fundraising costs and returns and compare your performance to other organizations.
February 08, 2015
How Nonprofits Persuade Their Boards to Spend More on Fundraising
Showing the potential for strong returns and establishing close ties with the CFO are among the ways top fundraisers get bosses and boards to spend more.
May 18, 2015
Example: How Higher Fundraising Costs Raised Revenue at a Medical Center
A fundraiser shares her organization’s costs and returns to help you make the case for greater investments in fundraising.
April 23, 2015
Case Study: Budgeting for a Billion-Dollar Capital Campaign at the University of Rochester
Jim Thompson, a senior fundraiser in higher education, explains the process he used to create a decade-long campaign plan for radical growth in contributed income.
October 11, 2012