Fundraisers’ Salaries Rise but Not Enough to Beat Inflation
Fundraiser salaries continued to grow in 2023, but not enough to keep up with inflation. The median salary for a U.S. fundraiser was $83,000, up 6.4 percent from the previous year, when the median was $78,000.
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Fundraiser salaries continued to grow in 2022 but not enough to keep up with inflation, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ annual survey on fundraiser compensation. The median salary for a U.S. fundraiser was $83,000, up 6.4 percent from 2021, when the median was $78,000. But with an average of 8 percent inflation last year, fundraisers weren’t able to pocket much of that wage growth.
The survey of 3,561 U.S. AFP members and 719 Canadian members was fielded in January and February 2023 and asked about salaries and benefits. Results cited in this article reflect responses from U.S. fundraisers only. Prepared for the first time by the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy — which conducts research, service, and education programs — the survey is now in its 24th year.
Continuing a trend from last year, U.S. fundraisers remained positive about keeping their current jobs. The share of fundraisers who planned to stay in their jobs in 2023 was 78 percent — in line with the 77 percent who said that about 2022.
While that finding seems to imply some stability in what has been a period of high turnover, the reality is a little more complicated.
Forty-eight percent of fundraisers said they looked for or accepted a new job with another employer within the pervious 12 months. So while a majority of fundraisers expressed confidence in their roles, some of them were still recent hires themselves.
Seventy-seven percent said they expected to earn more in 2023 than they did in 2022. That’s the same share that said in 2021 they expected a pay bump the following year.
However, the survey also found that the gap between men’s and women’s salaries persisted in 2022, though it dropped from 24 percent in 2021 to 15 percent. The average salary for women was $92,452 and for men, $106,773. The median salary for women was also lower: $81,000 versus $92,000. (Women represented the majority of the survey respondents — 79 percent.)
This is the second year that the survey has recorded higher average salaries for fundraisers of color than white ones — $100,798, versus $93,968. Median salaries, however, were closer — $85,000 for fundraisers of color and $82,000 for white fundraisers.
Still, the survey recorded far more salaries of white fundraisers than fundraisers of color. Just 16 percent of respondents identified themselves with a race or ethnicity other than “white/Caucasian only.” (That share includes fundraisers who identify as Hispanic whites, although salaries for Hispanic white fundraisers were included in the category of fundraisers of color.)
The survey also asked fundraisers about the share of their colleagues who identify as “members of a minority group or of a group that is underrepresented in professional positions.” Thirty-seven percent of respondents said at least one-quarter of their colleagues identify this way.
Among the other findings:
- 15 percent of respondents said they planned to seek out a new fundraising role at a different organization within the next 12 months.
- 43 percent of respondents said women hold at least half of the seats on their employer’s board. The same share said at least one-quarter of the trustees are “from groups underrepresented in leadership roles.”
- For the 1 percent of respondents whose gender was other than male or female, the average salary was $65,335. The median salary was $59,000.