Staff: They are change agents, not ‘overhead’

The flip side of Attorney General John Kroger’s complaint about nonprofits’ spending too much on overhead is that nonprofits need to raise money for non-program expenses like salaries.

Kroger is pushing a bill (SB 40) that would punish Oregon nonprofits that spend less than 30 percent of income on programs. Katya Andresen counters that raising money to pay staff “is not about salaries. This isn’t about overhead. It’s about your heroic staff, creating amazing…programs that transform the people you touch.”

Andresen writes in her blog, Katya’s Non-profit Marketing Blog, “The most critical aspect of any organization is its people and what they make possible.  Nothing wonderful happens without a creative, committed team.

“The end (result) of your efforts is the story you tell in your fundraising pitch. That’s not self-serving! Your CEO talking about the lives you change is not self-promotion—it’s the beating heart of your mission.  Say it loud and proud.”

In her post “How to raise money for ‘overhead,’” she said her fundraising pitch would include stories of people touched by your program. “I’d say what made it possible was my small, dedicated team.  With a donor’s support, more of that magic can happen.

“The bottom line: Don’t be afraid of talking about your people.  They aren’t overhead; they are change agents. If they do great work, put them front and center in your stories of transformation.  To use a theater term, they deserve center stage.”

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