After Losing a Key Grant,
a Social-Service Charity
Winds Down Carefully
FAMILY SERVICES of Metro Orlando started diver- sifying its operations and sources of money a couple of years ago so it wouldn’t have to rely so
heavily on the single state contract that paid for the
bulk of its work coordinating child-welfare services
in Central Florida.
It went from zero to 600 donors and, among other
moves, took over a community-service center that
provided food, clothing, and cash assistance to needy
families. But the group was largely occupied with
working on the state contract, and the last couple
years have been rough ones for any charity trying to
In October, Family Services lost the state contract.
It closed in March.
“Losing that contract was a total shock, and we
were just not yet at the point of being a stronger, independent organization that could survive that kind
of jolt,” says Gregory J. Kurth, the group’s chief executive.
The organization was also not ready to close its
doors immediately following word about the lost
grant. Mr. Kurth says it needed time to transfer
some of its non-state-supported programs, especially
those that served families with adopted kids, and to
carry out all the administrative duties of dissolving
a charity. It still needed to complete the year’s informational tax return, conduct an audit, and help the
workers who lost jobs find other positions and understand severance and benefit issues.
Family Services worked out a plan with the state
to help pay for closing costs—which, including additional insurance for trustees, rose to as much as
$400,000. The group may end up with extra money,
though, depending on the outcome of the sale of the
building it owns that housed the community-service center. If that happens, Mr. Kurth says, Family
Services will set up an endowment, and some board
members will continue in their roles for a few years
to oversee its disbursement.
“You can’t just turn out the lights and it’s over,” Mr.
Kurth says. “There are a lot of financial obligations,
legal responsibilities, liability issues, risk management, and other things that need to be taken care of.
And all that is in addition to dealing with making
sure the people you serve will be taken care of and
that your employees are OK.” —DEBRA E. BLUM
out a plan
with the state
of Florida, its
to help pay the
costs of closing .
Recovering Job Market
welcome news after a year in which few fund raisers
got increases at all, says a study released last week.
Salaries for fund raisers across the country were essentially flat during 2010, according to a study by the
Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Fund raisers in the United States earned a median
of $65,000 last year, meaning that half made less and
half made more.
That figure was a $1,000 drop from 2009’s median
compensation and a big change from the previous year,
when salaries rose by 3. 9 percent.
But the situation is not nearly so gloomy as it looks,
says Andrew Watt, chief executive of the association:
“If you look at this report in isolation, perhaps you’d
go ‘Ouch!’” What the figures don’t show, Mr. Watt
says, is the growing number of fund-raising jobs. He,
along with other experts, say a recovering job market
is poised to put pressure on organizations to pay more
attention to the way fund raisers are compensated.
While organizations still recovering from the downturn may not be in a position to offer increases, he
says, employers can take many other steps.
Reinstating matches for employees’ contributions to
their retirement funds, adding more vacation days or
flexible hours, reimbursing for professional-develop-ment programs can all be motivations to keep fund
raisers from wandering, he says.
Could Nudge Pay Up
Continued from Page 1
The number of new fund-raising jobs advertised fell
by half at the end of 2008 and only started to recover
in the second quarter of 2010, says Mr. Watt, whose
association tracks job openings nationwide.
But by the end of this year’s first quarter, they were
exceeding the number of openings available before the
recession. Over the last year, he says he has seen a
greater number of people who are suddenly willing to
relocate to get those jobs.
The association’s new survey bears that out. Based
on data provided by more than 2,400 fund raisers, it
found that 41 percent said they had looked for a new
job in the past year, up from nearly 37 percent in the
previous year’s study.
What’s more, nearly 61 percent of fund raisers said
they were thinking about making a move—and the
prospect of earning a higher salary was cited by 37
percent, more than any other reason.
The job trends make Mr. Watt slightly optimistic
about salaries in 2011. A “gentle increase” in salaries
during the year, he says, would not surprise him.
KEY FINDINGS FROM THE LATEST SURVEY
OF FUND RAISERS’ PAY
The Association of Fundraising Professionals’
survey of compensation found:
n Twenty-three percent of fund raisers surveyed
said they had been with their current employer for
a year or less. In 2007, before the recession hit,
that figure was 45 percent.
n Holders of professional credentials such as the
Certified Fund Raising Executive earned more
than those without them. CFRE holders earned an
average of $95,136 in 2010; fund raisers without
the credential earned an average of $69,428.
n A gender gap persists: Female fund raisers
earned a median of $62,000 last year, compared
with a median of $77,375 for men.
Median Pay of Fund Raisers
Salaries paid, by cause
Scientific or research
Salaries paid, by group’s budget
$75-million or more
$50,000,000 to $74,999,999
$10,000,000 to $49,999,999
$5,000,000 to $9,999,999
$3,000,000 to $4,999,999
$1,000,000 to $2,999,999
$500,000 to $999,999
$250,000 to $499,999
Less than $250,000
SOURCE: Association of Fundraising Professionals
Other groups that represent fund raisers agree. “We
are seeing donations go up, and salaries will go up as
well,” says William McGinly, president of the Associa-
tion for Healthcare Philanthropy, in Falls Church, Va.
“We will continue to see an upward swing, but it won’t
be a spike.”
He says that comes after salaries for hospital fund
raisers dropped 2. 3 percent last year.
At colleges and schools, pay was flat last year—but
about 60 percent of fund raisers surveyed by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education expect
to get a pay bump this year, says Rae Goldsmith, the
council’s vice president for advancement resources.
Rewarding the Best
The competition for fund raisers can be seen in the
way some job searches are playing out, says Peter
Drury, who was recently recruited to his current job,
development director of the Seattle charity A Child’s
Right, which works on clean-water projects in the developing world.
He got his post after the nonprofit spent six months
looking for the right person, he says. When his bosses
started the search, they set the salary in the $60,000
to $70,000 range. But when they failed to find the right
candidates, they moved it up. That’s when Mr. Drury,