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Charitable Fundraising Salaries Decrease in the U.S., Remain Stable in Canada

(April 10, 2006) From 2004 to 2005, salaries for charitable fundraisers decreased in the United States and remained stable in Canada, according to the latest Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Compensation and Benefits Study.

The average salary for U.S. respondents to the 2006 survey fell to $67,181 in 2005, a 16.7 percent decrease from the average in 2004.  There had been a steady increase in salaries for the four previous years, to a high of $80, 685 in 2004.  One possible reason for the decrease is an increase in the percentage of respondents who fall in the 25-34-year age range from 4 percent in 2004 to 17 percent in 2005, reflecting more respondents in earlier stages of their career.

Average salaries for Canadian fundraisers increased by 2.3 percent, to C$65,768.  In Canada, the number of fundraisers in the 25-34-year age range increased only slightly, from 21 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2005.

Location Key Factor

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 $61,062 in the Southwest area to $72,111 in the Northwest region.  Fundraisers working for public broadcasting enjoyed the highest average salary of $162,000, followed by those individuals employed by consulting agencies ($86,150) and international emergency relief organizations ($76,269).

Within the three regions of Canada, average salaries for all respondents ranged from C$51,102 in the Eastern provinces area to C$74,185 in the Central provinces.  Fundraisers working for religion-related organizations enjoyed the highest average salary of C$98,333, followed by those individuals employed by public broadcasting organizations (C$81,500) and educational organizations ($75,070).

The possession of a certification credential correlated positively with salary. Fundraisers in the U.S. possessing the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential earned, on average, $22,000 more than their counterparts, while individuals in Canada holding the credential earned C $20,000 more than those who did not. Those individuals possessing the Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive (ACFRE) credential earned $57,000 more in the U.S. and $44,000 more in Canada.

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.

Gender Gap Continues

A significant gap continues to exist between the salaries of male and female fundraisers.  Male fundraisers in the United States reported an average salary of $76,148 in 2005.  Women earned $62,980 on average.

In Canada male fundraisers reported an average salary of C$75,254 in 2005.  Women earned C$63,055 on average. Seventy percent of all respondents (both U.S. and Canada) classified themselves as female, while 30 percent classified themselves as male.

Several survey questions addressed respondents’ perceptions of the reasons for the salary gender gap.  Forty-four percent of respondents in both countries stated they feel there is widespread salary gender bias in fundraising.  Top reasons cited for this gap included the “double standard” in society and the unconscious bias of supervisors.  Other high ranking reasons included the fact that women employees have been hesitant to complain about salary bias, and male employees tend to be more aggressive in pursuing salary raises.

The average turnover rate in the United States in 2005 was 27 percent, up from 23 percent in 2004.  In Canada the turnover rate was 36 percent, up from 32 percent in 2004.  Perhaps related to the difference in turnover rates between the two countries, there was a marked difference in the reported degree of satisfaction with the quality of work life, with U.S. respondents more satisfied than their Canadian counterparts.

Asked whether they looked for a job with another employer in the last 12 months, 59 percent of U.S. and 54 percent of Canadian respondents said yes.  Top reasons for job leaving included higher salaries, frustration with the work environment, opportunities for career advancement, opportunities to engage in more interesting or challenging work, lack of recognition for one’s work, and unrealistic work expectations.

The survey also addressed health, retirement and other benefits. It will be available on the AFP website in the near future.

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