Electrifying Results: Fundraising Insights to Move the Needle for Your Nonprofit

Budget, What Budget?

We don’t have any hard statistics, but based on our experience, you’d be surprised by the number of nonprofits that hire a fundraiser and neglect to provide her or him a budget with which to fundraise. No wonder turnover in our field is so high.

Achieving your dreams takes more than desire, commitment and a development director. It takes funding to see those dreams to fruition. The budget must reflect realistic income projections as well as realistic proposed expenses.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Each person involved with your organization (i.e. staff, board, volunteers) should pledge a certain amount per month or per quarter. This then becomes part of your organization’s culture and boosts your annual bottom line.
  • Fundraising costs should be less than 25 percent of funds raised. Strive to meet Charity Navigator’s ( benchmarks. Certainly 25 percent may seem extravagant for fundraising costs in a mature organization, but for an upstart charity, it may be necessary.
  • Community organizer Jim Goettler, author of, “The Everything Guide to Starting and Running a Nonprofit,” suggests the 80-10-10 rule as a great goal for a long-term budget. Eighty percent should be dedicated to charitable or programming purposes, 10 percent to administration (“overhead”) and 10 percent to fundraising.
  • Examine your revenue streams and perform a “What If?” contingency exercise. What is your contingency plan if your largest donor ceases to support your organization? What happens if your largest fundraising event gets rained out? How would you survive?

If you proceed without setting aside sufficient resources, you run the risk of burnout and your nonprofit won’t be able to follow through with its plans. This can result in a loss of credibility and respect among your supporters. It may also result in the loss of your development director. It’s better to scale back activities and build a strong reputation for success than to overextend and fail. Find a balance; but by all means, set a budget.

AMPERAGE Fundraising Advisers is a full-service fundraising company whose mission is to move the needle for our clients. For more information on Amperage Fundraising Advisers or to make a recommendation for a future blog post, contact us today!