President's Perspective Blog

Mike's Message Takeover: Navigating the New Normal: Compensation, Benefits, and Flexibility in Fundraising

Paid Advertisement

The latest report from the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy offers a mixed bag of insights on the state of compensation and benefits within the fundraising profession. According to the 2024 Compensation and Benefits Report, the average fundraising salary in the U.S. saw a modest increase of 0.8% in 2023, rising from $95,841 to $96,621. This figure pales in comparison to the robust 6.7% increase seen in 2022, reflecting a slow growth trend that fails to keep pace with the 3% inflation rate over the same period.

This tepid salary growth remains a strong contributing factor in the high turnover rates plaguing the fundraising profession. Once again, in this year’s report, over 50% of survey participants indicated they either looked for a job with a different organization or planned to become self-employed during 2023. Those who reported looking for a new position typically earned 4% less (U.S.) or 11% less (Canada) than the national average, highlighting the continued importance of financial compensation in nonprofit career decisions. 

There is, however, hope that these trends may be turning around. Only 20% of respondents indicated they were planning on looking for new employment in 2024, a significant drop from 55% the previous year. 

As the cost of living continues to rise and salaries stagnate, nonprofits are recognizing that to attract and retain top talent they will need to evaluate their compensation packages wholistically and identify how to differentiate themselves in a competitive job-seeker market. 

Beyond the Paycheck: The Importance of Flexibility
Though, as we have seen, salary remains a strong motivating factor, work/life balance has become an increasingly important priority as well, providing an opportunity for nonprofits to get creative. This is particularly noteworthy for smaller organizations, who paid up to 54% less than their larger counterparts in 2023. 

Flexibility is an essential alternative for cash-strapped organizations interested in meeting the needs of today’s job market. However, one major finding from this report is the changing nature of the flexible workplace. Flexibility is no longer solely equated with remote work. In this year’s report, the percentage of fundraisers able to work remotely part-time dropped from 68% to 51%, while full-time remote work availability fell from 26% to just 14%. This shift towards more in-person roles may present challenges for those who have grown accustomed to the benefits of remote work, offering a significant opportunity for those organizations willing to continue or expand their work-from-home policies. 

Meanwhile, many organizations are compensating for reduced remote work options by emphasizing work/life balance alternatives such as additional days off, nontraditional schedules, and occasionally (3% of respondents) unlimited vacation policies. 

For the majority of respondents reporting these types of perks, their traditional PTO was augmented by mental health days, birthdays off, time for volunteer activities, or other incentive hours to employees meeting established goals. Some organizations also reported additional paid time off such as extra summer days, a weekly closure of the office, or half-days on Fridays.

These examples of flexibility are a game-changer for many employees, while providing tangible benefits for the employers as well. 

Enhanced Work-Life Balance
One of the most significant benefits of flexible working conditions is the improved work-life balance it offers. Employees can tailor their work schedules to better fit their personal lives, whether that means accommodating childcare, pursuing further education, or simply managing daily responsibilities more effectively. This flexibility leads to reduced stress and a greater sense of control over one's time, which can significantly enhance overall well-being.

Increased Productivity
Contrary to some traditional views, flexible working conditions often lead to increased productivity. When employees have the autonomy to choose when and where they work best, they can optimize their productivity periods and minimize downtime. For instance, some individuals are more productive early in the morning, while others may find their stride later in the day. Flexible schedules allow employees to align their work hours with their peak performance times, leading to higher quality output and greater efficiency.

Greater Job Satisfaction and Retention
Flexible working conditions are a powerful tool for boosting job satisfaction and retaining top talent. Employees who have the option to work remotely or adjust their hours are often more satisfied with their jobs because they feel valued and trusted by their employers. This satisfaction translates into higher loyalty and reduced turnover rates, saving organizations the costs and disruptions associated with frequent hiring and training.

Attraction of Diverse Talent
Offering flexible work options can also help organizations attract a more diverse talent pool. Individuals with different needs and lifestyles, such as parents, caregivers, people with disabilities, and those living in remote locations, are more likely to consider positions that accommodate their circumstances. This inclusivity not only enriches the workplace culture but also brings a variety of perspectives and ideas that can drive innovation and success.

Getting Creative: The Role of Benefits in Fundraising Compensation Packages
In today’s work environment some benefits have become almost ubiquitous. For example, in the U.S., 98% of respondents reported having access to health coverage and 94% cited availability of retirement plans. Other benefits, such as paying for professional dues (74%), life insurance (81%), and short-term disability (85%) are also becoming relatively commonplace. 

There are still, however, some creative benefits that employers are instituting that go beyond the typical offerings, to further differentiate themselves in the crowded job market. 

Some of these, such as transportation subsidies (11%) and covering parking costs (31%) are further attempts to offset the impact of the return to the office. Others, such as childcare benefits (6%) and paying for relocation costs (6%) are rarer perks more reminiscent of for-profit companies.  

Although ultimately, our industry needs to continue to push for fair and competitive compensation, it is reassuring to see nonprofits exploring additional benefits and flexible working conditions that will make our profession more attractive to our current practitioners as well as future fundraisers. 

The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy’s 2024 Compensation and Benefits Report is an essential tool, for both job seekers and employers, as they navigate compensation negotiations. These benchmarks can be used to ensure salaries that are in line with industry standards and can help lift up and correct inequities in compensation, such as the continuing gender pay gap, reported this year at 21.2%. 

It can also provide inspiration for employers interested in augmenting their compensation packages with benefits that improve flexibility and work/life balance, priorities that are becoming increasingly important in modern career decisions. 

We encourage members to download the full report and take advantage of this important data as you advocate for yourself, your colleagues, and your profession.

Author Information

Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
Want The Latest AFP & Fundraising News Delivered To Your Inbox?Sign Up Now!

Recommended for You

Members: Sign in to view your personalized recommendations!

Sign in