Research Grants & Initiatives

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AFP engages in several research initiatives and projects, including the Research Council Forum and Emerging Scholar Program, the Wilson C. "Bill" Levis Fundraising Research Grant, the AFP Compensation and Benefits Study, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, and the Nonprofit Research Collaborative.

Visit the Research & Reports page to search all related materials.



New: Research Council Forum (March 24, 2021)

On March 24, 2021, AFP's Research Council conducted an online forum that included the following presentations:

  • "How Predictable is Predictable Giving? Why Donors Give Monthly" by Elizabeth Searing, University of Texas at Dallas, Liam Duell, University at Albany and Tim Sarantino, Neon One
  • "Gratitude in Fundraising: Does Putting the You in Thank You Promote Giving?" by Patrick C. Dwyer, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Audra H. Vaz, Appalachian State University
  • "Is Overhead a tainted word by Dr. Ellie Heng Qu, Texas A & M University and Dr. Jamie Levine Daniel, IUPUI.

Access the video and resources (login required)


The Research Council’s Emerging Scholar Program

The AFP Early Career Emerging Scholar Award was established by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Research Council to honor an individual who is emerging as a contributing scholar or scholar-practitioner to the discourse on philanthropy and fundraising. The purpose of the award is to recognize those who are pursuing research agendas congruent with the mission and interests of AFP and the AFP Research Council. The award is given for a significant body of scholarship or a single extraordinary research achievement and in recognition of potential for future research.


The AFP Wilson C. "Bill" Levis Fundraising Research Grant

The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy offers grants for up to $10,000 each year to individuals who wish to undertake research projects directly related to fundraising performance. It is presumed that any nonprofit organization involved in a study will be fully aware of the project and will give permission to the researcher to carry out the project.  Fundraising professionals who wish to submit proposals are encouraged to seek advice from or partner with academic institutions in developing the research design. 


AFP Compensation and Benefits Study

AFP's annual survey and report provides valuable data about compensation for fundraising professionals in the USA and Canada. 



Fundraising Effectiveness Project

AFP proudly sponsors the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP) along with the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy.  FEP’s goal is to help nonprofit organizations increase giving at a faster pace, with a focus on “effectiveness” (maximizing growth in giving) rather than “efficiency” (minimizing costs). 

FEP conducts an annual survey, provides useful growth in giving performance measurement tools, and publishes gain(loss) statistics in a yearly report through a partnership between AFP, the Urban Institute, and participating donor software firms. 

Learn more—and access additional FEP reports and tools—on the FEP website at afpfep.org.


Nonprofit Research Collaborative

AFP proudly sponsors the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) along with Giving USA, CFRE International, and other organizations.

The NRC studies, through annual surveys, charitable fundraising at nonprofit organizations and the factors that drive success and growth.  NRC research is distinctive because it does not track how much is raised, as other studies do, but focuses on “how” and “why” information, including asking open-ended questions and tracking responses related to specific fundraising methods.

Learn more—and access additional NRC reports and resources—on the NRC website at npresearch.org.


Skystone Partners Prize for Research

Each year, the AFP Research Council awards the Skystone Partners Prize for Research to the author of a book that contributes substantially to the knowledge and understanding of fundraising or philanthropic behavior. The Skystone Partners Prize is made possible by an endowment from Skystone Partners, LLC, and includes a cash prize of up to $3,000. 

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