Research & Reports

2019 Compensation and Benefits Report: Fundraising Salary Increases Mixed Across Canada, With Most Fundraisers Satisfied With Their Jobs (Canadian Data)

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(Arlington, VA) On the back of a 16% increase in 2017, average fundraising salaries increased by almost 7 percent in 2018 across Canada, 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 650 AFP members across the country, 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 $91,524, an increase of 6.6 percent from the 2017 average of $85,858. The median salary—the most middle salary—was $80,000, an increase of 6.7 percent from the 2017 median of $75,000.

Higher salaries can often skew the results, and after removing the largest five percent of salaries, the numbers were more mixed: a 4.0% median gain, but a drop of 1.0 percent in average salaries.

However, the median salary of $80,000 also compares favorably with the Canadian median household income of $71,011.

“We saw significant growth in salaries in 2017, but that increase slowed in 2018 for many fundraisers, especially compared to the rate of inflation,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “However, fundraisers are generally pleased with their current positions, with this report identifying areas where AFP can work to improve workplace culture and increase the support we provide to members as they manage and lead fundraising within their organizations.”

The top 25 percent of respondent fundraisers earned more than $107,000 (the 75th percentile), while the bottom 25 percent earned $60,000 or less. Both of those figures are increases from 2017.

Compensation changes were most likely by small increments. More than four in ten respondents (43 percent) saw their income rise 1-3 percent. Over a quarter (27 percent) experienced four percent or higher increases, while 30 percent saw no increase for the year or even had their salaries 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, AFP specifically reached out to members who identified as “of color” and encouraged them to participate in the survey, resulting in 16 percent of survey respondents reporting ethnic heritage or race other than “white/non-Hispanic.”

For these respondents, the study found only a very small difference in salary. Salaries for respondents of color averaged $91,338 while all other groups averaged $92,499.

“Our work this year in encouraging more participation from fundraisers from diverse backgrounds is just beginning,” said Birgit Smith Burton, 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 $109,123, while a female’s average salary was $88,079, or 24% less. The median salary for a male was $84,000 while the median salary for a female was $78,500.

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 of $111,707, in comparison to the average salaries of $86,537 for those fundraisers without a credential.

Professional fundraisers earn more on average when raising funds for international development and health organizations, while arts/cultural and human social services and development charities saw lower salaries.

Average compensation for fundraisers was lowest in the Atlantic provinces ($70,752) and highest in Ontario and Quebec ($87,725).

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 in 2018, and 24 percent looked for opportunities at other organizations. The dominant reasons for considering leaving an existing position: 72 percent seek more compensation and 62 percent want to advance in their career.

Organizational capacity for fundraising was rated comparatively high for 2018. More than 80 percent of respondents said that their organization invests in fundraising capacity and technologies. Two-thirds reported that their organization prioritizes philanthropy and that the organization’s fund development is very effective, while 58 percent felt that board members are engaged in fundraising.

The average respondent has worked for 3.6 employers as a fundraiser. Study participants averaged 5.2 years at their current employer, and 5.6 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 slow but steady increases 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 many 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 646 AFP members in Canada submitted usable responses by the time the survey closed, a response rate of 19.7 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: Non-members may purchase the report for $199 at

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