AFP Global 2019 Compensation and Benefits Report


Published by AFP Global

2019 Compensation and Benefits Report: Fundraising Salaries Continued to Increase in 2018, With Most Fundraisers Satisfied With Their Position (U.S. Data)

(Arlington, VA) Average fundraising salaries increased by almost 8 percent in the United States in 2018, with most respondents satisfied with their current position, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) 2019 Compensation and Benefits Report.

The report, based on responses from nearly 3,600 AFP members across the United States, asks questions about each respondent’s overall organizational profile, position description, salary, benefits—including health/medical, retirement and general perquisites or “perks”—and general outlook on the organization’s fundraising and workplace culture. The study also collected data related to AFP’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) program.

The mean (average) salary for all respondents in 2018 was $83,826, an increase of 7.7 percent from the 2017 average of $77,862. The median salary—the most middle salary—was $72,500 an increase of 8.0 percent from the 2017 median of $67,100.

Higher salaries can often skew the average, but even after removing the largest five percent of salaries, fundraisers still saw significant growth: a 6.9% average increase and 7.7% median gain.

The median salary of $72,500 also compares favorably with the U.S. median household income of $62,450.

“After a period of flat growth and even decreases in salaries, we’ve seen very strong increases in compensation for two years now—a very good sign for the profession,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “While the increases are not across the board, there’s clearly now a very positive job environment for fundraisers. People are coming to the profession, especially younger generations, and seeing they can have a fulfilling career and help change the world.”

The top 25 percent of respondent fundraisers earned more than $98,025 (the 75th percentile), while the bottom 25 percent earned $53,889 or less. Both of those figures are increases from 2017.

However, compensation changes were most likely by small increments. Nearly half (45 percent) of respondents saw their income rise 1-3 percent. One-third (33 percent) reported 2018 compensation that was 4 percent or more than what they earned in 2017. Less than a quarter (22 percent) saw no increase in income for the year or even had their salary reduced.  

Race and Gender

In previous surveys, fewer than 10 percent of respondents have identified as anything other than “white/non-Hispanic.” For the 2019 report, AFP specifically reached out to members who identified as “of color” and encouraged them to participate in the survey, resulting in 15 percent of survey respondents reporting ethnic heritage or race other than “white/non-Hispanic.”

For these respondents, the study found no meaningful difference in salary. Salaries for respondents of color averaged $83,494, while all other groups averaged $83,179.

“Our work this year in encouraging more participation from fundraisers from diverse backgrounds is just beginning,” said Birgit Smith Burton, executive director of foundation relations for the Georgia Institute of Technology and AFP’s vice chair of membership engagement. “I’m grateful to see that there is little difference in average salary between fundraisers of color and others. But this is just one smaller sample, and we weren’t able to drill down deeper in the data and look at issues such as the intersectionality of gender and race, for example. Those topics need to be examined and will be in future research.”

Looking only at gender, the average salary of a male fundraiser was $100,008, while a female’s average salary was $78,326, or 28% less. The median salary for a male was $85,000 while the median salary for a female was $70,000.

AFP released a study in March 2019 based on previous years of data from its Compensation and Benefits Studies. That report, The Impact of Gender on Fundraising Salaries, 2014 – 2018, found that 10 percent of the gap between men’s and women’s pay was associated with gender alone. Other factors that were also tied to pay gaps were years of experience in the field and the size of the institution at which the AFP member worked.

Salary by Credential, Subsector and Geography

The possession of a certification credential correlates positively with salary. Fundraisers with a credential reported average salaries that were between 3 percent and 14 percent higher than their peers without a credential but who had a comparable number of years of experience in fundraising.

Fundraisers earn more when raising funds for higher education and less when working for community or economic development agencies. More than two-thirds of the subsectors within the charitable sector have average salaries between $71,000 and $94,210.

Within the six regions of the United States—Northeast, Southeast, North Central, South Central, Southwest and West/Northwest—average salaries for all survey respondents ranged from $76,490 in the North Central area to $91,285 in the West/Northwest region.

Workplace Challenges, Satisfaction

The survey asked several elements related to job satisfaction, and fundraisers are positive about most elements of their work and profession. Alignment of the individual’s interests with the organization’s mission scored the highest, with 95 percent saying they are satisfied or very satisfied with that aspect of their work.

While high majorities are satisfied in their jobs overall, there are areas of concern, including:

  • 37 percent are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with opportunities for advancement;

  • 32 percent are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with compensation and benefits package; and

  • 25 percent say there are insufficient staff to do the fundraising work at their organization.

For these and other reasons, two-thirds (66 percent) looked for a promotion within their organization, while 26 percent sought opportunities at other organizations. The dominant reasons for considering leaving an existing position: 68 percent seek more compensation and 56 percent seek greater responsibilities.

Organizational capacity for fundraising was rated comparatively high for 2018. Three-quarters of respondents said that their organization invests in fundraising capacity and technologies. Nearly two-thirds reported that board members were engaged in fundraising; that the organization prioritizes philanthropy, and that the organization’s fund development was very effective.

The average respondent has worked for 3.4 employers as a fundraiser. Study participants averaged 5.2 years at their current employer, and 6.2 years is the average for the longest time at any employer.

“We hear a lot of talk about turnover in the fundraising profession, and it is definitely an issue, especially because turnover can impact donor retention and cultivation,” said Geiger. “But we are also seeing a slow but steady increase in the average number of years fundraisers are staying at their employer. With so many opportunities in the sector now, we’re going to see an influx of newcomers to the profession and fundraisers seeking more responsibilities and greater compensation. It will be up to each individual charity to find ways to keep their staff, and the survey data about benefits and what fundraisers value can help.”

About the Survey

A total of 3,596 AFP members in the United States submitted usable responses by the time the survey closed, a response rate of 14.8 percent. Respondents vary from year to year.

The 2019 AFP Compensation and Benefits Report is available free to AFP members on the AFP website here:

Giving USA 2018 Report Summary Findings

Giving Reaches New Peak Again, But Growth Slows Dramatically

Released June 18, 2019

Reprinted from AFP Global Website

Charitable giving in the U.S. reached an estimated $427.71 billion in 2018, according to Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018.

Total charitable giving rose 0.7% measured in current dollars over the revised total of $424.74 billion contributed in 2017. Adjusted for inflation, total giving declined 1.7%.

Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive report of its kind in America, is published by Giving USA Foundation, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute. It is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

“The data reflect what AFP expected to see based on our own findings from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project Quarterly and Year-End Reports,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “The FEP found that the growth in giving dropped by 80 percent in 2018, and we see a similar decline in Giving USA as well—from roughly 5.2 percent in 2017 to just 0.7 percent in 2018—and giving actually decreased if you account for inflation. Of course, there were a lot of changes in the philanthropic landscape last year, including the major tax bill that was enacted in 2017, so a number of factors contributed to the shifting levels in giving.”

One important shift in the 2018 giving landscape is the drop in the number of individuals and households who itemize various types of deductions on their tax returns. This shift came in response to the federal tax policy change that doubled the standard deduction. More than 45 million households itemized deductions in 2016. Numerous studies suggest that number may have dropped to approximately 16 to 20 million households in 2018, reducing an incentive for charitable giving.

AFP members now receive an exclusive 15% discount on all 2019 products, including print and digital packages, data tables, and a full PowerPoint to share and explain the data trends with your fundraising staff and board of directors. Members can click hereto get the special code to use and receive the discount when ordering.

Charitable Giving by Source

Giving by individuals totaled an estimated $292.09 billion, declining 1.1% in 2018 (a decrease of 3.4%, adjusted for inflation).

Giving by foundations increased by an estimated 7.3%, to $75.86 billion in 2018 (an increase of 4.7%, adjusted for inflation). Data on foundation giving are provided by Candid (formerly known as the Foundation Center).

Giving by bequest totaled an estimated $39.71 billion in 2018, remaining flat with a 0.0% increase from 2017 (a 2.3% decline, adjusted for inflation).

Giving by corporations is estimated to have increased by 5.4% in 2018, totaling $20.05 billion (an increase of 2.9%, adjusted for inflation).

Giving by foundations had a record-breaking year, reaching its highest-ever dollar amount even when adjusted for inflation, and growing to its largest share (18%) of total giving to date in 2018.

“Giving by foundations represented 18% of all charitable dollars given in 2018—an unprecedented dollar amount and an unprecedented share of total giving. The strong growth in giving by foundations and in giving by corporations helped bolster total giving overall in 2018,” said Rachel Hutchisson, chair of The Giving Institute, and vice president of corporate citizenship and philanthropy for Blackbaud. “These results highlight the importance of institutions to the philanthropic landscape, and serve as a reminder that different types of approaches to philanthropy are vital for strengthening and expanding the field, especially in complex years like this one.”

Giving by individuals decreased as a percentage of total giving in 2018 to 68% (down from 70% in 2017), despite achieving its third-highest total dollar amount on record, adjusted for inflation.

“As we’ve seen in previous years, the strong economy had a positive influence on individual giving; however, these positive effects may have been tempered by policy changes and other factors to create a more mixed picture for giving in 2018. About half of all Americans give, and the tax policy changes may have created uncertainty for some donors, especially those who previously itemized but no longer will,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “We have strong historical data about the link between economic variables, the stock market and charitable giving, and we will be analyzing data for the next few years to better understand how broad giving patterns may have changed.”

Charitable Giving by Recipient

Charitable sectors saw uneven growth in 2018 in current dollars, with two categories of recipient organizations growing, three categories staying relatively flat, and four categories declining.

Some of the categories of charitable organizations that had declines in 2018, including giving to education and giving to foundations, experienced strong growth in 2017, even when adjusted for inflation. It is not unusual for strong growth in giving one year to be followed by slower growth or a decline in the following year, especially in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars.

Giving to religion is estimated to have declined by 1.5% (a decrease of 3.9% adjusted for inflation), receiving $124.52 billion in contributions.

Giving to education is estimated to have declined by 1.3% (decreasing 3.7% adjusted for inflation), to $58.72 billion.

Giving to human services is estimated to have stayed relatively flat, decreasing by 0.3% (a decrease of 2.7% adjusted for inflation), totaling $51.54 billion.

Giving to foundations is estimated to have decreased by 6.9% (declining by 9.1% adjusted for inflation) to $50.29 billion, based on data provided by Candid.

Giving to health organizations is estimated to have had flat growth of 0.1% (a decline of 2.3% adjusted for inflation) at $40.78 billion.

Giving to public-society benefit organizations decreased by an estimated 3.7% (decreasing 6.0% adjusted for inflation), to $31.21 billion.

Giving to arts, culture, and humanities is estimated to have stayed relatively flat, increasing 0.3% (declining 2.1% adjusted for inflation) to $19.49 billion.

Giving to international affairs is estimated to have increased by 9.6% (an increase of 7.0% adjusted for inflation), to $22.88 billion.

Giving to environment and animal organizations is estimated to have increased 3.6% (an increase of 1.2% adjusted for inflation), to $12.70 billion.

“The complexity of the charitable giving climate in 2018 contributed to uneven growth among different segments of the philanthropic sector,” said Amir Pasic, Ph.D., the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “Charitable giving is multi-dimensional, however, and it is challenging to disentangle the degree to which each factor may have had an impact. With many donors experiencing new circumstances for their giving, it may be some time before the philanthropic sector can more fully understand how donor behavior changed in response to these forces and timing.”

About the Research

Giving USA 2019: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2018 is a publication of Giving USA Foundation, 2019, researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Giving USA estimates primarily rely on econometric methods developed by leading researchers in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector and are reviewed and approved by members of the Giving USA Advisory Council on Methodology (ACM). Members of the ACM include research directors from national nonprofit organizations, as well as scholars from such disciplines as economics and public affairs, all of whom are involved in studying philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy prepares all of the estimates in Giving USA for Giving USA Foundation. Giving USA develops estimates for giving by each type of donor (sources) and for recipient organizations categorized by subsectors (uses). Most of Giving USA’s annual estimates are based on econometric analyses and tabulations of tax data, economic indicators and demographics. Data for giving by foundations come from Candid (formerly the Foundation Center).


AFP Global Announces Dues Increase and Enhanced Member Benefits

May 6, 2019

Dear Central Ohio AFP Members,

We want to inform you that AFP Global will be increasing international dues for Professional and Associate members, for the first time in 10 years. Effective July 1, 2019, dues will increase $30 with an additional 2% inflation increase planned every two years.

This does not affect your Central Ohio Chapter dues, which will remain the same, a decision your Cental Ohio Board of Directors made at the beginning of this calendar year, in anticipation of this change from AFP.

We wanted to ensure that Central Ohio Chapter Members hear about the AFP Global dues increase directly from your chapter leadership. Below is a portion of the letter from AFP Global President, Mike Geiger.

We recognize that this increase may be a challenge for some members. Please know that AFP has an option for those that would like to use a monthly installment plan to pay dues. Learn more.

Additionally, your AFP Central Ohio Chapter has over $10,000 in scholarship funds available for members. Learn more about scholarship opportunities available to you.

We are here for all Central Ohio Members. If you have a comment, question, or concern regarding the AFP Global dues increase for Professional and Associate Members or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact myself or any of the Central Ohio Board of Directors.

Thank you for your continued commitment to your Central Ohio AFP Chapter!


Laura M. Baker, CFRE

President, AFP, Central Ohio Chapter

[email protected] · 614-292-3022

Letter from AFP Global President, Mike Geiger:

“… AFP has been able to avoid raising dues for Professional and Associate members (which account for approximately 60% of overall membership) for the past ten years.

Despite keeping our dues flat over the past decade, we have been able to produce significant and groundbreaking work…

However, to continue to develop and enhance benefits and services, as well as ensure adequate resources to meet future member needs, and after considerable thought and appreciation of the impact that a dues increase would have upon our members in these two categories, the AFP Dues Taskforce and the AFP Board of Directors have agreed that the association must increase its dues at this time.

As a result of a thorough and deliberate process, it was decided that only a $30 dues increase was needed for these two categories.

Enhanced Member Benefits

The Task Force’s most important rationale for recommending an increase is to build further on the significant number of new benefits and services that have been provided to AFP members since the last dues increase.

Just some of the benefits in the last couple of years include:

  • Creation of educational offerings such as Microlearning Videos, revision of the Ready Reference Series of books, and additional educational articles through the new Advancing Philanthropy Perspectives online section—all free of charge to members
  • Launch of the new AFP website and new upgraded member-database system
  • Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) work
  • New leadership and career development tools such as AFP 360°
  • Negotiation training workshops provided through a partnership with the American Association of University Women—free of charge to members
  • AFP Connect, an AFP members-only online forum and networking tool/resource for chapters—free of charge to members
  • Cutting-edge research such as the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, which tracks how giving is faring while providing tools and resources on increasing donor retention—provided free of charge to members
  • New chapter websites through Higher Logic, provided free of charge to chapters
  • Free online educational courses through Blackbaud University—provided free of charge to members
  • Enhanced conferences
  • Revamped communications, such as AFP Daily and the Week in Review

Current and Future Pricing

The dues increase recommendation is also based upon findings from the Value Proposition and Member Pricing Research Survey, which found that the optimal price for the professional or associate membership was found to be between $250 and $290.

The task force also recommended a bylaws change to reflect a dues increase of 2% every two years (rounded up or down to the nearest $5 increment) to continually keep up with inflation.

Board approved changes are:

   Member Category                          Current Dues                                    Dues as of 7/1/19

   Professional                                     $250 + chapter dues                      $280 + chapter dues

   Associate                                         $250 + chapter dues                      $280 + chapter dues

The other membership categories will stay the same:

   Member Category                                           Current Dues                                  

   Young Professional                                          $95 (includes chapter dues)

   Nonprofit Organizational-Small                        $175 (includes chapter dues)

   Nonprofit Organizational-Large                       $2,200 ($275 each, 8 minimum)

   Retired                                                             $75 + chapter dues                       

   Business – Executive Circle                             $5,000                                              

   Business – Endorser Level                              $1,500                                              

   Collegiate                                                         $35 + chapter dues                       

   Global E-membership                                     $50 + chapter dues                       

Looking Ahead

As we look ahead to the future, we see an AFP that is focused not just on education and networking, but on the entire experience of being a professional in the fundraising field—work place issues, cultures of philanthropy, equity and inclusion, and leadership and management, to name just a few. Our membership value will continue to rise as we not only provide new and enhanced products and services, but also as we strengthen the profession, enhance the voice of fundraisers across society and work to increase giving and the impact members make every day.

We do not take any dues increase lightly (as evidenced by not increasing dues in ten years) but in order to continue to provide valued benefits and add to them, this is the proper decision for AFP at this time. We value your commitment to AFP and assure you our commitment to you is even greater.”


AFP International Launches New Campaign to Address Gender Inequity in Fundraising

March 8, 2018

On International Women’s Day, AFP has launched the Women’s Impact Initiative (WII) to address issues of gender inequity in the fundraising profession and charitable sector, including sexual harassment, salary inequality, and the lack of women in senior leadership roles.

The Initiative is a two-year campaign to assess, address and highlight the specific issues and challenges that women in the fundraising profession face with the ultimate goal of creating resources that help overcome gender inequity issues in the profession. The initiative’s objectives will be focused on research, education, awareness, and guidance and support. WII will culminate with a Women’s Impact Summit as a stand-alone event in 2019.

“Women make up approximately 70 percent of the fundraising profession, but account for only about 30 percent of fundraising leadership roles throughout the charitable sector,” said Ann Hale, CFRE, the chair of AFP. “AFP’s own Compensation and Benefits Report has shown that female salaries are consistently $20,000 less than salaries for our male counterparts. The issue of inequity—along with related issues such as implicit bias and harassment—is critical if we are to have a diverse, fair, vibrant and growing fundraising profession. AFP is committed to addressing these issues through the Women’s Impact Initiative and other activities.”

The first major action under WII is the release of a comprehensive survey about sexual harassment in the profession conducted by AFP and The Chronicle of Philanthropy through Harris Poll. The results of the survey, which included over 1,000 fundraisers across the U.S. and Canada, will be released in early April and at AFP’s International Fundraising Conference. That data will be used to develop anti-sexual harassment resources for the profession and made available to AFP members and non-members.

The Initiative is being led by a task force chaired by Tycely Williams, CFRE, vice president of development for the YWCA of the USA in Washington, D.C. 

“While WII is addressing some very challenging and in my case, very personal issues, the goal of the Initiative is meant to empower,” said Williams. “We want to provide the tools, skills and resources so that fair and equitable salaries can be negotiated. We want to provide the resources that create cultures and standards that are against harassment in all its forms. We want to provide mentoring programs, as well as research and other services, that can break barriers and create new leadership opportunities for women. There are so many great things we can do for the profession by coming together under WII, and I encourage everyone—regardless of gender—to get involved.”

WII is the first campaign under AFP’s new IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Impact Program. The underlying goal of the program is to remove the leadership gap in the fundraising profession by engaging, training, and supporting different diverse communities as they move into the profession. The program and its initiatives will work to create a fundraising profession that is not only diverse, but inclusive and equitable. 

“Whether you are looking to move into leadership or are just getting into the profession – ALL people should have safe and open workplaces free from harassment and bullying,” said Mike Geier, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “All fundraisers should be recognized equally for their contributions. That’s why the IDEA Impact Program and the Women’s Impact Initiative were created. Even though WII is a two-year project, the underlying programs and services will remain in place and continue to serve the profession. AFP is dedicated to addressing these issues for the long-term.”

(To see the video with Tycely Williams, chair of the AFP Women’s Impact Initiative, click here.)

For more information about the Women’s Impact Initiative, please contact Heba Mahmoud at [email protected] or (703) 519-8486.