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Salaries, Income Dropped Slightly In 2015 For Canadian Fundraisers

Both salaries and overall income for professional fundraisers in Canada working in the charitable sector dropped in 2015, but only slightly, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) 2016 Compensation and Benefits Report.

Members: Download Your Free Copy of the AFP 2016 Compensation and Benefits Report

Nonmembers: Purchase Your Copy of the AFP 2016 Compensation and Benefits Report ($79)

The mean (average) fundraising salary in 2015 was $78,380, a decrease of more than five percent from the $82,666 reported in 2014. The median (middle value) for all Canadian respondents in 2015 was $73,000, a drop of more than six percent from the $78,000 median reported in 2014.

The top 25 percent of respondent fundraisers earn more than $93,213, and the bottom 25 percent of respondents earn $54,000 or less.

The average Canadian respondent has held 3.7 fundraising positions in his or her career.  The average number of years per employer (turnover rate) is 4.2, just slightly different from the turnover rate of 4.1 in the last survey.

Sixty percent of respondents saw their incomes rise in 2015—a slight decrease from the 63 percent in the previous study who saw their incomes increase in 204.

“While the report shows small declines, the last several years have seen fluctuations in salaries—both up and down,” said Jason Lee, president and CEO of AFP. “For example, last year, the average salary was up five percent. So while we never like to see any decrease, we will continue to work to educate nonprofit leaders and the public about the importance of fundraising and provide tools and resources to members so they can be successful in their work and achieve appropriate recognition and compensation.”

The situation in the United States is similar, with respondents seeing a decrease in average salary of more than six percent. However, the number of members reporting increases in incomes increased slightly.

Salary by Geography, Experience, Credential

Within the three regions of Canada, average salaries for all respondents ranged from $72,709 in the Western provinces area to $92,324 in the Eastern provinces.

Years of professional experience correlated with salaries.  Those with less than 10 years of experience reported average salaries of $63,634 - $72,966.  Those with 10-24 years of experience averaged $73,979 - $106,106.  The highest salaries were reported in the 25-29 years of experience range, with an average of $120,340. 

The possession of a certification credential correlates positively with salary. CFREs reported average salaries nearly $30,000 higher than the average for respondents with no certification.

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 Canada as well as in the United States. Male fundraisers in Canada reported an average salary of $94,269 in 2014. Women earned $80,538 on average, a gap of approximately $14,000. The gender gap in the U.S. was even larger, approximately $19,000.

Workplace Challenges, Satisfaction

The Compensation and Benefits Survey also asks respondents about issues in the workplace.

Insufficient staff personnel, competition from other assigned duties, and leaders who don’t appreciate fundraising were the three situations respondents reported as most problematic in doing their professional work.

About half (47 percent) plan to serve in their present position indefinitely. Twenty-one percent would like to move to a higher management level at work, 3 percent would like to have different fundraising responsibilities in their jobs, 14 percent would like to move to a different fundraising organization, and four percent would like to leave fundraising for a different field.

This year, the survey asked new questions about respondents’ confidence in different parts of their organization. Fifty-four percent of Canadian respondents feel somewhat or very confident in their organization’s board member/leadership engagement in fund development. Sixty-nine percent of Canadians feel somewhat or very confident in their organization’s investment in fundraising capacity and technologies.

In addition, 62 percent feel somewhat or very confident that fund development, philanthropy and accountability are understood and valued throughout their organization. Sixty-eight percent of Canadian respondents are somewhat or very confident that their organization’s fund development is very effective. 

When asked about diversity and inclusiveness in their organizations, 71 percent of Canadians said they agree or strongly agree that inclusiveness is a priority.  43 percent of Canadian respondents feel that the number of ethnically diverse fundraisers has increased in the last 15 years.

About the Survey

A total of 402 AFP members in Canada submitted usable responses by the time the survey closed, a response rate of 13.1 percent. Respondents vary from year to year.

The 2016 AFP Compensation and Benefits Report is available free to AFP members while non-members may purchase the report for $79. The report provides information on how salaries differ based on subsector, organizational budget, geography, education, your years of experience and countless other factors, while also detailing fundraiser perspectives on retirement, challenges, keeping them inspired and other issues.

Members: Download Your Free Copy of the AFP 2016 Compensation and Benefits Study

Nonmembers: Purchase Your Copy of the AFP 2016 Compensation and Benefits Study ($79)

Also available are Position and Function Reports, which show how salaries compare by job titles and functions within a development office. These Mini-Reports are $9.99 for members and $12.99 for non-members.

Order Your Mini-Reports Now!

The main report, as well as the Position and Function Reports, are available at the AFP Online Bookstore.



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