Fundraising Pay Up In U.S., Down in Canada

Average fundraising salaries in the United States increased 1.5 percent during 2019 but declined 5.4 percent in Canada, according to a new survey. Despite that, more than 7 in 10 fundraisers in both countries saw increases in income and most remain satisfied with many aspects of their jobs, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) 2020 Compensation and Benefits Report.

The average U.S. salary for all respondents in 2019 was $85,060, up from an average of $83,826 in 2018. The median salary was $74,000 in 2019 — an increase of 2% from the $72,500 median in 2018 — and greater than the U.S. median household income ($63,688).

In Canada, the average salary was $86,876, a decrease from the 2018 average of $91,547. The median salary was $80,000, which was unchanged from 2018 but still higher than the median household income in Canada ($76,211).

Whether the slower rate of increase in 2019 and the decrease in Canada is a correction from a significant rise in 2018 is hard to say, according to Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based AFP. “But I am excited that more than three-quarters saw their incomes rise last year,” he added.

Geiger also pointed to the fact that the median salary for fundraisers exceeds the median household income in both the U.S. and Canada. “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 change the world,” he said. “That’s a message we’ll be focusing on more in the future.”

The survey asks questions about each respondent’s overall organizational profile, position description, salary, benefits — including health/medical, retirement and general perquisites — and general outlook on the organizations’ fundraising and workplace culture. This version of the report also focused on the experiences of fundraisers age 35 or younger.

The top 25 percent of respondent fundraisers earned more than $100,000 (the 75th percentile) while the bottom quarter earned $55,000 or less; both figures are increases from 2018.

Compensation changes were most likely in small increments. Some 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. Only 17% saw no change in their salary and 6% saw compensation decline.

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

A total of 3,993 AFP members in the U.S. submitted usable responses by the time the survey closed, for a response rate of 14.8%. For the Canada survey, 642 members submitted usable responses for a response rate of 17.7%.

The 2020 AFP Compensation and Benefits Report is available free to AFP members.