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The 2016 AFP Compensation and Benefits Report

More Than Two-Thirds of U.S. Fundraisers Saw Incomes Rise in 2015

Sixty-eight percent of fundraisers in the U.S. reported increased income in 2015, even as overall average salaries fell, 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) salary in 2015 for U.S. respondents to the survey was $70,880, a 6.6% decrease from the 2014 average of $75,913. The median (middle value) salary was $62,000, a 4.6% drop from the median in 2014 of $65,000.

The top 25 percent of respondent fundraisers earn more than $85,000, and the bottom 25 percent earn $47,200 or less.

Sixty-five percent of respondents saw their incomes rise in 2014—very much similar to the 63 percent who saw increases in 2013 and the 66 percent reporting increased income in 2012.

While 68 percent of respondents saw their incomes rise in 2015, 24 percent reported their incomes stayed the same, and six percent experienced a drop in income. These figures were similar to 2014, when 65 percent reported an increase in income.

The average respondent has worked for 3.1 employers as a fundraiser.  The average number of years per employer (turnover rate) is 3.9, slightly changed from last year’s 4.1 years.

The situation in Canada is similar, although respondents there saw both decreases in salary as well as in the percentage of those reporting increases in income.

"While we are concerned about the drop in salaries in the U.S., our past reports—which are distributed to a random sample of members annually—have shown similar changes before from year to year,” said Jason Lee, president and CEO of AFP. “We’ll be watching salaries to see if this turns into a longer trend, but for now we’re focused on providing services that will help fundraisers achieve their mission and be appropriately compensated for it.”

Salary by Geography, Experience, Credential

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 survey respondents ranged from $66,753 in the Southwest area to $73,095 in the Northwest region.

There is a strong correlation between years of experience and compensation.  Fundraisers with less than 10 years of experience reported average salaries of $50,324 - $68,923.  Those with 10-24 years of experience reported average salaries of $76,347 - $89,411.  Those with 20 or more years of experience reported averages of $100,648 - $117,908.

The possession of a certification credential correlates positively with salary.  In the United States sample, CFREs reported average salaries more than $24,000 higher than the average for respondents with no certification.  Those who hold the ACFRE reported average salaries $40,000 higher than non-credentialed individuals.

There is a dramatic difference in the compensation of males and females.  The average salary of male fundraisers is reported to be $88,169.  Females are paid an average of $69,134.  The 2015 numbers mark just the second time in the 15 years of the survey that the salary gap has been less than $20,000, despite women making up the majority of AFP members (75%) and respondents to the survey (80%).

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.

More than 70 percent of respondents work remotely at least occasionally, and 86 percent feel that working remotely is a desirable benefit.

This year, the survey asked new questions about respondents’ confidence in different parts of their organization. Fifty-six percent of respondents feel somewhat or very confident in their organization’s board member/leadership engagement in fund development. Fifty-seven percent of respondents feel somewhat or very confident that fund development, philanthropy and accountability are understood and valued throughout their organization.

When asked about diversity and inclusiveness in their organizations, 69-nine percent of U.S. respondents and 71 percent of Canadians said they agree or strongly agree that inclusiveness is a priority.  Eighty-one percent agree or strongly agree that they feel welcomed and a part of the professional organizations to which they belong. 

About the Survey

A total of 2,389 AFP members in the United States submitted usable responses by the time the survey closed, a response rate of 11.6 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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