Research Outline

Fundraising Budget of Nonprofit Organizations


To determine the fundraising expense or fundraising spending of nonprofit organizations or civil society organizations by looking at the proportion of its annual budget that is spent on fundraising. An ideal report would include a category breakdown of the fundraising expense.

Early Findings

  • According to the Better Business Bureau, a nonprofit's expenses for fundraising should not exceed 35% of its total budget.
  • Charity Navigator has set a goal of having fundraising expenses to be less than 10% of its total budget.
  • Based on the 2019 annual report of the American Red Cross, a nonprofit organization, its fundraising expense is only at 5.9% or equivalent to $177. The breakdown for this fundraising expense is not reported.
  • In 2018, Amnesty International of the United States of America spent a total of $7,754,916 for fundraising while in 2017 its fundraising spending is $6,736,688. The breakdown of this fundraising expense is also not reported.
  • Based on the 2018-2019 annual report of the American Heart Association, its fundraising expense is $100,120 while its total expense is $892,248. The report does not include a breakdown of their fundraising expense.

Summary of Findings

  • There is no available data for the average fundraising expenses of nonprofit organizations in general. However, individual budget reports of nonprofit organizations are available.
  • The breakdown of the fundraising expense is not reported in the annual budget reports.