Viken Mikaelian

I Want More Pay!

Viken Mikaelian  
fundraising salaries

I want a pay raise

I came across this above post on a LinkedIn group (note and remember, this is not my headline):

“I know it’s scary, but what’s happening now is even scarier…”

“The Many Problems with Paying Our Nonprofit Staffs Too Little and Why We Need to Pay Them More”

Here’s my response below and please, anyone, let me know if I am off base:


Of course we can just give everyone a raise, but where will this money come from?

The fact is that we have to recruit the best fundraisers who truly know how to raise money and then we have to reward them for their work – if they succeed. The biggest problem I see is that many development professionals will come into a new position with the best intentions of focusing on bringing in gifts, but then keep themselves busy with bureaucratic work – managing databases, editing grant papers, writing content for a planned giving website, etc. This “buzzzzy” work is counterproductive to their actual role as a fundraiser.

My firm gives several webinars a year. I’m honored that over 600 people attended our webinar titled “Storytelling,” yet only 54 people attended our webinar called “The I.R.S. Considers You a Business. Act Like One.” To me this says that fundraisers are not appreciating the business side of fundraising, or scared of it, or simply have a blind spot. I have worked with over 5,000 nonprofits and this issue is extremely prevalent. IT IS CRITICAL that we start treating nonprofits like businesses and this starts with how we treat our staff and our own work and how we think.

Fundraising is akin to sales and marketing; it is very hard work and requires grit and dedication. If you don’t have it in you to do the real job of a development professional then you should probably get out now. There are plenty of other good paying jobs out there if the fundraising business is not right for you.




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