President's Perspective Blog

Mike’s Monday Message: Putting the 2023 Compensation and Benefits Report into Perspective

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Today I want to review one of the most important AFP members-only benefits - the annual salary survey.

Earlier this month, the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy released the 2023 Compensation and Benefits Report, which includes valuable data from 2022 on salaries, benefits, job satisfaction, and demographics for both U.S. and Canadian fundraisers. 

Personally, when I first saw the report, I was encouraged — a 6.7% average salary increase in the U.S. and a 5.9% increase in Canada. That’s fantastic news! We haven’t seen that type of increase since salaries increased by 8% in 2018. And while it IS still good news, which I’ll talk more about later, what brought me back down to earth a bit, was knowing that the inflation rate in 2022 was 6.5%.

We’re keeping pace with inflation, but fundraisers aren’t seeing the increase in spending power that you would normally associate with a salary increase. Inflation had a similar impact on giving in 2022, where we saw a 3.4% year-over-year drop in dollars, but a 10.5% downturn when adjusted for inflation. 

This seems to be pretty typical across the sector as inflation is taking a big bite out of everything. 

That being said, I want us to remember to keep things in perspective. I mentioned the last big increase in 2018 — the pandemic had a massive impact on the nonprofit industry. 

Between March and December 2020, net compensation levels declined 3% in the U.S. and 2% in Canada, compared with reported pre-COVID-19 salaries. In 2021, we saw only minor increases — an average of 1.5%. 

So, inflation aside, increases of 6.7% and 5.9% are a huge step in the right direction. We’re making up some of the ground that was lost and as an industry, we’re positioning ourselves for future growth. 

This year’s report also included significant progress in other areas such as inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. For example, we saw the gender pay gap drop from 24% to 15% in the U.S. and from 13% to 11% in Canada, which while still significant, is another step in the right direction. 

We also saw improvement in the diversity of organizational leadership, with 43% of U.S. and 40% of Canadian boards, reporting at least one-quarter or more of their board members were from under-represented groups. 

The bottom line is, the median fundraiser’s salary was $83,000 USD in the U.S. and $88,000 USD in Canada this past year, and 77% of fundraisers believe that it will increase in 2023. This is great data to show young people and others just entering the profession, to demonstrate the opportunities available in fundraising. 

I would recommend that all members download the full report which provides additional data on salary by job title, education level, geographic location, organizational size, and more. Being able to compare your salary with the average for similar roles at other organizations is invaluable when negotiating a raise or planning your next career move. 

This report is truly one of the best benefits of membership, so please take advantage of it! Here at AFP, we will be using this data as we continue to work towards a more inclusive and transparent profession, where all fundraisers have access to the opportunities we see demonstrated in this report. 

If you have any questions or comments, as always, please feel free to email me at or connect with me directly on X at @AFPMikeGeiger. I’d love to hear from you.

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