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April 16, 2021
Pandemic Aside, Nonprofit Fundraisers Like Their Jobs

January 4, 2021 — Despite a year of upheaval and testing, nonprofit fundraisers expressed overall satisfaction with many aspects of their job, according to a recently published report based on input from nearly 4,000 fundraising professionals across the country.

With many nonprofits facing continued, often increasing, financial strain due to the coronavirus pandemic, fundraising professionals will likely be tested to find the funds their organizations need.

“It’s clear that fundraisers are under a lot of pressure right now to generate more and more income to provide critically needed programs in our communities,” said Martha Schumacher, chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), commenting on findings from its 2020 Compensation and Benefits Report.

She added, “At the same time, the demand for qualified fundraising professionals has never been greater, and we’re seeing an influx of new people coming into the profession.”

The report found that:

  • 78% of survey respondents were satisfied with their CEO/ED focus on fundraising.
  • 71% were satisfied with the technology available for fundraising.
  • 67% were satisfied with the overall effectiveness of fundraising at their organization, and a similar share were satisfied with expectations on fundraising at their organization.
  • 65% were satisfied with their fundraising budget.
  • 57% were satisfied with staff having sufficient time dedicated to fundraising.
  • 38% were satisfied with their board members’ engagement in fundraising.

“I think the two areas that were scored lowest in satisfaction both relate to the importance of creating a culture of philanthropy in organizations,” said Mike Geiger, president and CEO of AFP. “When philanthropy is made a priority at a charity, and everyone understands their role in identifying and inspiring donors and volunteers, then I think you’ll see these two areas of dissatisfaction become less common.”

Despite overall favorable satisfaction levels, pay for nonprofit fundraisers could become an issue, as 62% indicated that in 2019 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.

The report found that average salary for those responding to the survey was $85,060 in 2019, an increase of 1.5% from the 2018 average of $83,826. Half of the fundraisers earned under $74,000 in 2019, up from $72,500 the year before.

The average salary of male fundraisers in 2019 was $104,534, while female fundraisers were paid an average of $80,898, or 22% less, AFP said.

Previous AFP research found that 10% of the gap between men’s and women’s pay is attributed to gender. Other factors that were also tied to pay gaps were years of experience in the field and the size of the institution in which the fundraiser worked.

The study found that people of color reported earning an average of $87,290 in 2019, or 2.5% more than participants who identified as white/Caucasian. Seventeen percent of study participants identified a race or ethnic heritage that was either multiracial or something other than white/Caucasian only.

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