Fight the low nonprofit pay monster by moving along

Maybe it’s time for you to get a new job.

Low nonprofit salaries and bad working conditions insure ineffective fundraising at many nonprofits.

Recent research found that about a third of nonprofit employees intend to still be at their current job in three years.

This is a problem.

It means constantly retraining. Loss of institutional memory. Boneheaded mistakes being made over and over again.

As Fired-Up Fundraising said in a recent post, Don’t Carry Out Your Mission on the Backs of Your Staff:

If you invest more money in fundraising then you will raise far, far more money. Funds to carry out your mission. This seems like a no-brainer, but too many organizations and their boards starve the fundraising budget — and the fundraising staff.

If you read this blog, you are more likely one of those underpaid people than the leaders who keep their organizations on a scarcity diet. So I have this advice for you:

If you are underpaid, switch jobs now.

Don’t wait a year or two or three. Don’t be patient. Give yourself a deadline, and stick to it.

I know it can be hard, because you believe in the cause.

But when you let them underpay you, you’re just part of the problem.

So do yourself a favor. Find a better job.

Don’t cover for their mismanagement! Put those “market forces” to work on your mismanaged former employer. If your leaving doesn’t help them wise up and pay your replacement a reasonable salary, they will just take another step toward ruin. And while that will be sad, in the long run we’ll all be better off because you moved on!


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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