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January 18, 2021
Nonprofit Pay for Fundraisers Up 1.5%, but Women Paid Less

November 28, 2020 — While average salaries for nonprofit fundraisers increased a modest 1.5% last year, over the year before, women on average received only 77% of what their male counterparts earned, according to findings from a recently completed national compensation and benefits survey.

The average salary for all respondents in 2019 was $85,060, from the 2018 average of $83,826, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) reported.

The median salary, was $74,000 in 2019—higher than the U.S. median household income of $63,688—an increase of 2.0% from the 2018 median of $72,500.

In 2019 female fundraisers were paid an average of $80,898, or 77.4% of the average $104,534 paid to men.

“We still have quite a way to go in terms of making fundraising salaries equal by gender,” said Martha Schumacher, chair of AFP. “But I am energized by the work of AFP Women’s Impact Initiative and several of the steps we have taken recently to address gaps in salary. For example, we now require that all jobs posted on the AFP Global Job Board include salary ranges. It’s a small yet significant step toward closing the gap, and we hope many other organizations will follow suit.”

“After a significant rise in salaries in 2018, we saw salaries increase at a much slower rate in 2019,” said Mike Geiger, president and CEO of AFP. “Whether that’s simply a correction from 2018, it’s hard to say, but I am excited that more than three-quarters saw their incomes rise last year.

“In addition, it’s great to see the median salary for fundraisers exceed the U.S. median household income by more than $10,000. For me, that figure shows young people and others entering the profession that you can earn an above-median income while having a fulfilling and satisfying career that helps to change the world.

Two-thirds or more of respondents were satisfied with their organizations’ fundraising results and investments. For example, 84% said they were satisfied with the skills and knowledge of their fundraising staff; 78% were satisfied with their president’s or executive director’s focus on fundraising; and 71% were satisfied with their organization’s fundraising technology.

Other key findings, based on input from 3,993 nonprofit fundraising professionals, published in the 2020 Compensation and Benefit Report, included the following:

  • The top 25% of respondent fundraisers earned more than $100,000, while the bottom quarter earned $55,000 or less. Both figures are increases from 2018.

  • 43% of respondents saw their income rise 1% to 3%, while one-third reported compensation that was 4% or more above what they earned in 2018.

  • 17% saw no change in their salary and 6% saw compensation decline.

  • About 31% of participants, down from 33% in prior years, said their organizations “explicitly state that achieving determined performance goals will be a factor in determining a pay raise.”

The largest share of survey participants were chief development officers (39%), followed by fundraising officers (17%, typically related to major or planned gifts) and fundraising program managers (14%, generally related to the annual fund).

Forty percent of respondents did not supervise or manage any other staff member; 26% manage three or more colleagues.

The average participant has worked for 3.3 employers as a fundraiser. Study participants averaged 5.3 years at their current employer and 6.5 years is the average for the longest time at any employer.

Over the last five Compensation and Benefits Reports, 64% of participants said they had thought about leaving their jobs in the last year. Reasons included desire for professional advancement; concerns about organizational climate and operations; and desires to match personal and employment goals and values.

In 2019, 62% indicated they had thought about leaving their jobs, higher than the 54% in 2018. Of those who reported thinking about leaving and looking for a job elsewhere, 71% said it was to earn a higher salary, 62% sought greater opportunities for career advancement, and 58% were frustrated by their work environment.

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