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Charitable Fundraising Salaries Stabilize Across North America After Previous Increase

May 13, 2011

(Arlington, VA) – After significant increases in 2009, salaries for charitable fundraisers in the United States and Canada in 2010 reflected the general economic conditions across North America and stayed approximately the same, according to the latest Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Compensation and Benefits Report.

The average salary for U.S. respondents decreased by less than one percent-from $76,482 in 2009 to $76,193 in 2010.  Average salaries for Canadian fundraisers decreased from C$79,554 in 2009 to C$78,388 in 2010-a 1.5 percent decrease.

The slight decreases in 2010 occurred after increases in 2009, when the average U.S. salary increased by 7.4 percent and the average Canadian salary increased by 11.2 percent.

"What we saw in 2010 was a general settling of fundraising salaries after there was substantial growth in 2009," said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. "The 2009 results were surprising given the general economy at the time, but perhaps reflect the trend that economic changes tend to affect philanthropy and charities later than other sectors. The 2010 findings tend to mirror what other professions are experiencing."

The compensation survey found that location and type of organization play an important part in determining salary. Within the six regions of the United States, average salaries for all respondents ranged from $70,712 in the South Central area to $81,737 in the Northwest region.  Fundraisers working for consulting firms enjoyed the highest average salary of $90,923, followed by those individuals employed by trade and professional associations ($90,289) and scientific or research organizations ($88,917). 

Within the three regions of Canada, average salaries for all respondents ranged from C$65,821 in the Eastern provinces area to C$81,676 in the Central provinces. Fundraisers working for consulting agencies enjoyed the highest average salary of C$101,583, followed by those individuals employed by federated appeals (C$100,000), and health service organizations (C$97,113). 

The possession of a certification credential correlates positively with salary. In the U.S. sample, CFREs reported average salaries more than $25,000 higher than the average for respondents with no certification, and those who hold the ACFRE or FAHP reported average salaries more than $50,000 higher than noncredentialed individuals.  In Canada, CFREs reported average salaries more than C$26,000 higher than the average for respondents with no certification.  There were no Canadian ACFRE respondents to this year's survey.

As expected, there were also positive correlations between average compensation and the size of an organization's staff, its budget and amount of funds raised, as well as 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 $92,540 in 2010.  Women earned $70,614 on average. With the exception of 2005 when the salary difference diminished slightly, the gap in the United States has consistently been approximately $20,000 during the ten 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$92,086 in 2010, and women earned C$74,341 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-five percent of all survey respondents classified themselves as female, while 24 percent classified themselves as male.

The survey also addressed health, retirement and other benefits.

For more information and a copy of the survey results, contact the AFP Public Affairs Department at

Order the AFP 2011 Compensation & Benefits Report: 


Michael Nilsen    
Vice President, Public Affairs
(425) 241-4675 

John Skendall
Assistant, Public Affairs
(703) 519-8445




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