Even if it isn’t possible to add $10,000 or even $1,000 to a
key employee’s pay, there are ways to keep staff members
happy, says Amy Bronson, director of recruitment and profes-
sional development at Boston University.
a consultant for the group, was
recruited for the job.
That emphasis on attracting
and rewarding talent is something other fund raisers also
see affecting compensation.
Mr. Disend, the San Francisco fund raiser and a nonprofit veteran of 30 years, says he
now he sees more nonprofits focusing on rewarding their best
performers, rather than making
“When the recession hit and
you had to do more with less, everyone became more concerned
about productivity,” he says. “It
changed how people perceive
their work forces, because some
people really do produce more.”
But at many nonprofits, raises are still hard won.
At the American Cancer Society, Jo Ann Ledbetter, the charity’s senior compensation consultant, says her group recommends salary ranges annually
for its fund raisers around the
country and is not sensing the
need to move them up this year.
“I haven’t heard from anyone
that they are having difficulty
filling jobs,” she says.
Dawn Svenson Holland, a
fund-raising consultant at
FlashPoint Fundraising, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and head of
the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Eastern Iowa
chapter, says some of her chapter’s members only got cost-of-living pay increases last year
for the first time since 2008.
As a consultant, she encourages board members and executive directors to talk with their
fund raisers about what is important to them, much as fund
Continued from Page 7
n Keep them engaged. Make sure they understand—and know
you appreciate—how their work is essential to the big picture
of your organization. Give them meaningful work, and let
them see a career path.
n Develop individual plans to keep each employee loyal.
Listen to what each worker wants. Be creative about
meeting employees’ needs, including flexible schedules,
professional development, and chances to build a professional network.
n Give detailed feedback. Be specific about what they did that
worked. Don’t wait for an annual review: Little notes of appreciation, gift certificates for coffee, and lunches with the boss
help keep workers feeling valued. Handwritten notes are far
more powerful than e-mail messages.
raisers do with donors. In those
talks, managers can find keys
to retaining workers. “I’m not
sure there are enough conversations like that,” she says.
Sweetening the Deal
One reason salaries may have
been flat in 2010 is that the job
market still contained plenty of
laid-off fund raisers willing to
scale down their compensation
Marian Alexander DeBerry,
who heads recruitment efforts
at Campbell & Company, in
Chicago, says laid-off fund raisers who had been making from
$150,000 to $175,000 now are
willing to settle for jobs paying
To make up for the lower salaries, some employers are sweeten the compensation arrangement by offering such things as
a bonus equal to one week’s salary or an extra week’s vacation.
Nonetheless, some hiring managers see signs of what Amy
Bronson calls a “talent war”
that could lift salaries.
Ms. Bronson, director of re-
cruitment and professional
training at Boston University,
who hired 20 fund raisers in the
past year to help prepare for a
upcoming campaign, says top
candidates now do more than
seek a big raise—they want sta-
bility, because they don’t want
to risk a layoff.
The full survey from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, “2011 Compensation
and Benefits Study,” is available
free to members on its Web site.
Nonmembers may purchase copies for $95. Go to: http://www.
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A Literacy Charity’s Transfer
of Programs Unravels
BY RECRUITING, training, and placing volunteers, the Literacy Network
of Greater Los Angeles helped
other organizations do their
best work teaching adults to
read and write. But when the
economy declined in late 2007,
so did contributions to the network—a result, says its former
leader, Barbara Bushnell, of
the group’s focus on building
up other charities rather than
providing direct services.
Gifts plummeted from about
$750,000 in 2007 to less than
$50,000 in 2009. More than
half of the group’s 23 board
members jumped ship.
But instead of just shutting
the doors, Ms. Bushnell and
the remaining trustees vowed
to stay in business long enough
to find a way to transfer programs to another organization.
They began by negotiating
with a local group, Jewish Vocational Services, which was
finding that many of its job-training clients also needed
better reading and writing
During a fund-raising luncheon in late 2009, the network’s board chairman told
donors about the plans to hand
over programs and then to
close the organization. The
event raised $25,000, money
that was needed to wind down
In the meantime, the voca-
tional group paid the network
$10,000 for its assets, which
included a literacy curriculum,
a listing of literacy services in
the area, and a donor database
with about 5,000 names.
A ‘Mourning Period’
The Literacy Network is now
considered a project of Jewish Vocational Services, with
its own oversight committee,
which includes five of the network’s former board members.
But instead of simply carrying on the network’s programs,
Jewish Vocational Services
made some changes, incorpo-
$750,000 in 2007
to less than $50,000
rating literacy training into its
For Ms. Bushnell, it was a bit
of a letdown that the programs
are not operating the way they
once did. She says she is disappointed, too, that only one of
the network’s four employees
was able to go to work for the
“From an emotional perspective, there’s a bit of what we in
the Literacy Network called
the mourning period,” she says.
“I don’t think there’s any way
to avoid it—when there’s no
money and an organization
has to close, sometimes even
the best-faith effort to have the
mission or programs live on
just doesn’t happen.”
—DEBRA E. BLUM
A Kindred Charity Acquires
a Sinking Social-Service Group
FAMILY RESOURCES and the Parental Stress Center were two Pittsburgh organizations working only blocks
from each other on the same
cause: preventing child abuse
and helping kids who suffer
from it. So it made sense that
over the years, the groups had
flirted with merging or creating some type of collaboration.
A couple of years ago they even
wrote a document they called a
joint vision statement.
But the two sides could never agree on what a combined
organization would look like,
who would run it, and what the
board makeup would be.
Then, in the summer of
2009, a budget impasse in
Pennsylvania meant the state
couldn’t pay its bills, and like
other nonprofit groups that re-
lied on government contract
money, the Parental Stress
Center faced a fiscal crisis.
Family Resources stepped in
to lend the center roughly half
a million dollars. It also start-
ed a process to acquire the