I received a question from a voice over talent recently asking what I thought they should charge when doing work for a non-profit company.
Their assumption was that a discounted rate should be offered to companies who have not-for-profit status.
Not knowing offhand, I decided to take a poll on Facebook and received a number of replies that insisted a regular fee be levied as opposed to a discounted rate!
Hear more from professional voice actors who have experience working for non-profits in today’s VOX Daily.
Opinions On Working For Non-Profits
Does working for a not-for-profit organization mean you have to charge lower rates to serve them?
According to numerous sources online, including Wikipedia.org, the main difference between nonprofit organizations and for profit organizations is that nonprofits don’t pay dividends to shareholders and spend all of their revenue on activities that their organization supports, operational costs and promotional materials.
In light of the holiday season celebrated at present by many different faiths and religious groups, this topic of charging organizations set out to do charitable works regular fees may appear somewhat taboo… however what we need to remember is that work is done at all times of year and budgets are set aside well in advance of Christmas, Chanukah, Eid or Kwanzaa, be the budgets sizable or small.
I posed the question from earlier in my article to some friends yesterday on Facebook for the purposes of getting an answer for the talent who asked and also to write an article on the subject with knowledge from working voice talent, both union and non-union, regarding their views on quoting for nonprofits.
The conversation as it unfolded has been detailed below regarding non-profit companies and whether or not a discounted rate is necessary or encouraged:
“I think that just because the client may be a non-profit, or not for profit, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t charge scale. Working for a non-profit doesn’t mean you should become non-profit yourself.”
— Chris Wagner
“I’m with Chris. You’re in business to support yourself. Your time is money, whether for a profit or non-profit.”
— Scott Fortney
“Another ‘race to the bottom’ issue. If memory serves there is a website that tells you how effective non-profits are vis-a-vis how much of each dollar goes to their cause. If they are really frugal in their administration then I might cut them some slack. If their CEO is making half-a-million dollars a year (no matter if USD or CAD) then I would be less likely to relent.”
— Glenn Carella
“To attract top talent Non-Profits have to pay the going rate to attract qualified professionals, voice over should be no exception. Charity Manager’s national survey of US Non-profit administrators puts the AVERAGE salary of a non-profit manager at $160,000. The guy who runs the Charlotte NC, YMCA makes over $400,000. (I know, I have served on the boards of a few non-profits and have approved the salary of many a manager)”
— John Taylor
“I once worked for a PBS affiliate where the President made a 1/4 million or more, the CFO $160-grand or more, chief engineer and IT people all in the 6 figures. Non-profit?? Come on! If that’s non-profit, I’m leaving the for-profit world. Charge them the same – in many cases, it should be more. Sorry, but that is my personal take.”
— Scott Fortney
“I agree with Chris as well. Indeed your time is money. Donation does not pay the bills… it’s a business transaction and with that being said, dollars need to be in the equation.”
— Scott Lee Cupp
“A PSA for Broadcast Television the charge would be around $426 for one years use. That is a great deal.”
— Randy Thomas
“A not-for-profit entity is granted that status, not because they make no money, but because the nature of their work qualifies them for tax-exempt status. They have budgets and overhead just like anyone else and everyone is paid a living wage. You should charge your normal rate and do your best work.”
— Deborah Sale-Butler
What Are Your Thoughts?
From where I sit having been part of church councils, ministries and involved in choirs that were nonprofits, discounted rates or donations of time, talent and treasure do help to offset costs and allow these organizations to use limited finances in other areas to continue doing good works.
Perhaps it depends on the size of a nonprofit and how much of their revenue goes directly to the people or communities they are serving… I’d love to hear your thoughts. The majority, if not all, comments I received were from one particular point of view.
Do you treat non-profit clients any differently than your for profit clients with regard to your fees?
Join in the conversation!