Give a Bonus for Having a Good Year? Or Not?
The answer is incentive pay— pays!
The University of California, Irvine, is using an incentive plan that is a pay-for-performance for major gift fundraisers. It augments regular salary.
Fundraising totals have increased almost 100 percent.
I wouldn’t worry about the ethics on this. It simply means the staff is rewarded for doing a good job and meeting objectives. I would not, however, provide a bonus for an individual. It has to be a team achievement.
Some opponents of the bonus idea believe that donors may not feel comfortable with this type of arrangement. But what professional (attorneys, surgeons) and which corporations (IBM, Xerox) don’t use an incentive?
I can argue both sides.
I don’t believe, however, in a percentage of the philanthropic revenue going to the fundraiser. That’s a no-no.
What works best of all (and is still ethical) is to give the fundraising team (support staff included) a bonus for reaching a pre-determined objective at the end of the year.
What do you do with a person who is not pulling his weight? Interestingly, the team usually takes care of that. And the person doesn’t last.