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Majority of Fundraisers See Salary Increases, While Average Salary Flattens

May 8, 2012

More than half of respondents to AFP’s Compensation and Benefits Study reported salary increases in 2011, even as the average salary for fundraisers remained about the same.

One-third of respondents to the survey, which included charitable fundraisers in the United States and Canada, reported salary increases of 1-3 percent, about 10 percent reported increases of 4-6 percent, and about 15 percent reported an increase of 7 percent or more over their 2010 compensation levels. Approximately one-third of respondents in both countries indicated no change in their salary, and less than 10 percent saw a decrease in salary.

The overall average salary for U.S. respondents was $75,595 in 2011, a decrease of less than one percent compared to an average of $76,193 in 2010. The overall average salary for Canadian fundraisers was C$78,067 in 2011, also a decrease of less than one percent compared to an average of C$78,388 in 2010.

“Ever since we saw significant jumps in 2009—more than seven percent in the U.S. and more than 11 percent in Canada—we’ve seen a general steadying of salaries that reflects the current economy,” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. “In general, fundraising salaries remain very strong and competitive compared to other professions, and we’re seeing a lot of activity on programs like our jobs board. I would tend to expect similar patterns in salaries over the next couple of years.”

The compensation survey found that location and type of organization continue to play an important role in determining salary. Within the six regions of the United States, average salaries for all respondents ranged from $70,454 in the North Central area to $82,059 in the Northeast region. Fundraisers working for consulting firms enjoyed the highest average salary of $98,140, followed by individuals employed by government agencies ($88,537), organizations focused on health problems ($87,687), and public broadcasting ($87,597). 

Within the three regions of Canada, average salaries for all respondents ranged from C$56,040 in the Eastern provinces area to C$83,138 in the Central provinces. Fundraisers working for government agencies enjoyed the highest average salary of C$100,861, followed by individuals employed by higher education institutions (C$83,459) and organizations focused on health problems (C$93,880).

The possession of a certification credential correlates positively with salary. In the U.S. sample, CFREs reported average salaries more than $23,500 higher than the average for respondents with no certification.  Individuals with an ACFRE reported salaries nearly $50,000 higher, while those with an FAHP earned $76,000 more on average than those with no certification.  In Canada, CFREs reported average salaries more than C$31,000 higher than the average for respondents with no certification.  The four Canadian respondents who hold an ACFRE or FAHP also reported significantly higher salaries than individuals with no certification, although the sample is too small to make generalizations.

As expected, there were positive correlations between average compensation and the size of an organization’s budget and amount of funds raised, as well as individuals’ age, level of education and years of professional experience.

A significant gap continues to exist between the salaries of male and female fundraisers in both countries. Male fundraisers in the United States reported an average salary of $93,049 in 2011.  Women earned $70,420 on average. With the exception of 2005 when the salary gap diminished slightly, the gap in the U.S. has consistently been about $20,000 during the 11 years in which the survey has been conducted.

There was also a gap in salaries by gender in Canada, where male fundraisers reported an average salary of C$90,335 in 2011 and women earned C$74,340 on average. The gender salary gap in Canada has been C$12,000-C$17,700 each year of the survey except for 2007, when the difference was only C$3,353. Seventy-seven percent of all survey respondents classified themselves as female, while 23 percent classified themselves as male.

The average turnover rate (number of years in fundraising divided by the number of fundraising jobs held) for all respondents was 4.4 years per job.  For U.S. respondents, the rate was 4.5 years per job, and for Canadians the rate was 4.0 years per job.  The average U.S. respondent has held 3.3 fundraising positions in his/her career.  In Canada the average is 3.4 positions.  The longest period of employment in the same fundraising position, on average, is 6.2 years in the U.S. and 5.5 years in Canada.

The survey also addressed health, retirement, continuing education and other benefits. 

The 2012 AFP Compensation & Benefits Report is available for download on the AFP website at this link.



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