Is That Income Unearned or Contributed?

Did You Earn It or Not?


From Shana Ross, the Development Shrink, comes this really good article on the difference between unearned and contributed income.

“When you work yourself to the point of exhaustion trying to bring in enough contributions to support your organization, it might seem like a very low blow to call all of that “unearned” income.”

Her point, get used to “unearned” because it’s the correct terminology. It is not a moral judgment of how hard you work for contributions. “Contributed” is just plain incorrect.

Any thoughts? Which do you prefer?

About Scott Cargle

Scott is a nonprofit consultant, specializing in fundraising, business development and grant writing for arts and education organizations. He has worked with dozens of arts, education and community organizations in Los Angeles and New York. He has raised funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Times Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, NY State Council of the Arts, LA City Department of Cultural Affairs, LA County Arts Commission, Jewish Community Foundation, and many others. From 1993-2006, was the Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Project, which presented large-scale outdoor productions, free in parks all over New York City. Over a 12-year period, he grew the budget from $800 to $400,000, with nearly 95% coming from unearned revenue. Scott has served on grant-making panels, including LA City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Times Foundation, NY Foundation for the Arts, Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY, and CEC International. He was also honored to serve on the board of directors for the Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY from 2003 -2005. He currently serves on the board of Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble.
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