You Get What You Pay For
April 26, 2005
While nonprofit execs have long grappled with high turnover, searching for ways -- sometimes fruitlessly -- to retain the best and brightest that pass through their development departments, a new Association of Fundraising Professionals' survey reveals that money might no longer be a stumbling block.
According to the AFP, which recently surveyed members in the United States and Canada about their compensation and benefits packages, the median salary of U.S. fundraisers rose last year by more than 15 percent, to $72,050, or roughly $100,000 more than in 2003. Chief development officers fetched a median salary of $73,500, up 13 percent from the previous year, while the median salary for those holding the No. 2 spot in nonprofit fundraising departments shot up 20 percent, to more than $66,000.
What's more, the median salary for fundraisers who manage specific programs, such as planned giving or annual gifts, increased by nearly 14 percent, to $62,500, and chief executives who are mainly in charge of fundraising saw their median salary grow by 8 percent, to $78,000.
Starting salaries might also be on the rise. Fundraisers who had been with their employers for one year or less -- representing 18 percent of all respondents who reported their number of years on the job -- earn a median salary of $70,000, up from $60,000 in 2003.
This boom could represent a shift in how development professionals are regarded by the governing bodies of their organizations, or a clear-cut mandate for more sophisticated fundraising appeals. It's been truly a seller's market with more jobs than qualified people to take them, more capital campaigns than campaign directors. The career listings and Web postings are filled with endless opportunities at every skill level, for every possible type of charitable mission.
But in spite of the abundant opportunity for fundraisers, turnover in our field remains high and still stands as the greatest threat to building a strong development program.
So does this surge in salary mean that young graduates will look to the field of fundraising to make their careers? Will more colleges offer direct-marketing and fundraising courses?
Nonprofits still can't compete with for-profits on many fronts, but this is certainly a start.
Senior Editor, FundRaising Success
Editor, FS ADVISOR
P.S. Has your organization planned for a pending postal rate increase? If so, what steps have you taken to brace for the change? E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.P.S. Starting this week, FS ADVISOR will feature a special column on direct-mail packages gleaned from Target Marketing Group's own Who's Mailing What! Archive, a direct-mail library of more than 20,000 fundraising packages from every sector in the nonprofit world. Each issue will profile a new piece's creative, design, copy and overall marketing approaches in "Direct Mail Spotlight." For more information, visit http://www.whosmailingwhat.com