Fair Salaries for Fundraisers

Dear Kim:

I raise funds as a volunteer at a small theater company, with the idea that if some grant proposals I have submitted are successful, I will be given a paid position. My question is this: if this happens, (which I sincerely hope it does because I love the group) what kind of salary should I ask for? The position would be full time. Currently the total budget for the theater is $400,000. The artistic director makes $50,000, the Executive Director $60,000 and the administrator $45,000. The actors, stage hands, and so on are paid, but some only get a small stipend and we use a lot of interns from the Drama Dept at our college. I should also state that we expect to build our theater in a few years and triple our budget so that we can pay all our workers more fairly. This growth is expected to be because of my efforts.

Signed,

Ambitious and Hardworking

Dear Ambitious:

Certainly you do not lack self-confidence, which is a good thing! Let me answer your question and then offer a piece of unrequested advice.
First, your question: what is a fair salary for you? I believe that the salary of a development director should be in line with what other management level staff are getting. In your case, your salary would be more than $45,000 but less than $60,000. As your work load grows, and the budget of the school grows, your salary, and those of all the other workers, should increase.

One caveat in your description of your job: you say that your efforts will result in a new theater building and much more income to match increased expenses: remember that your job is to coordinate all the fundraising efforts of board members, the Executive Director, and other volunteers in the theater. Do not let your ambition trap you into a job in which you alone are expected to raise all the money needed.
Fundraising must be a shared responsibility. One person doesn’t have the time to do it all, and an organization should not be overly dependent on any one person. You need to begin now to see yourself as a coordinator of everyone’s fundraising efforts. If you want a solo or leading role, be an actor.

–Kim Klein