Will Overhead Sink Us? | npENGAGE

Will Overhead Sink Us?

By on Sep 26, 2014


In recent months, it seems every conference and magazine, every blog and every water cooler conversation has eventually turned to overhead. For years, that has been the measurement watchdog groups, foundations and corporations, individuals and nonprofit organizations themselves have used to “rate” the overall effectiveness.  It’s only recently, when “excessive” overhead (however you define that) has come under scrutiny, that we’ve started asking, “Is there a better way to measure effectiveness?”

I’m conducting research for a doctoral project to hopefully shed some light on ways nonprofit organizations in general, and fundraisers in specific, can prepare for overhead challenges that come at them from external forces—the legislation, regulation and revised practices that threaten even the best-managed nonprofit organization.  If you work at or volunteer for a nonprofit organization in the United States, you’re invited to participate in this research by completing the survey online.  It should take you less than 10 minutes.

Feel free to invite colleagues to complete the survey, as well.  And thank you for helping to contribute to the body of knowledge that helps nonprofits organizations have the most effective fundraising efforts possible.

Take the survey here.


Pamela Barden, CFRE, is a Direct Response Fundraising Strategist and Copywriter. With a professional career in strategic fundraising that spans 35 years, Pamela brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to working with nonprofit organizations.  She specializes in writing fundraising copy, P.R. materials and instructional articles, as well as developing and executing fundraising strategy.

As Vice President and Group Director at Russ Reid (2006–2009), she was responsible for the management of the largest single account for this marketing agency specializing in nonprofit fundraising.  Her nonprofit experience includes leading the fundraising work for International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (2001–2006); World Relief Corporation (1988–2001) and Youth for Christ/USA (1979–1988).

Pamela is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), an Advisory Panel Member for Rogare: The Fundraising Think Tank of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University, winner of a Gold Award for Fundraising Excellence and an ECHO Award from the DMA, a Distinguished Instructor for UCLA Extension, adjunct instructor at University of La Verne and a weekly columnist for “Today in Fundraising.”

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