More fundraisers see higher pay; average salaries drop

More fundraising professionals in the U.S. and Canada got a boost in their average income in 2013, compared to 2012, but average salaries fell nearly eight percent, a new survey says.

And a longstanding and large gap persisted between pay for men and women in fundraising jobs, while the average turnover rate among fundraisers grew slightly, says the 2014 Compensation and Benefits Study from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Average income

Over 63 percent of fundraisers in the U.S. and Canada saw their average income grow from 2012 to 2013, down from 66 percent in 2012 but up from 58 percent in 2011.

Twenty-eight percent reported no change in 2013, while eight percent reported decreases, says the survey, which is based on responses from 3,378 AFP members, including 2,952 in the U.S. and 426 in Canada, reflecting response rates of 13.9 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.

The average salary for fundraising professionals in the U.S. was $75,483, down nearly eight percent from 2012, while the median salary fell 8.5 percent to $65,000.

In Canada, the average fundraising salary fell over 10.7 percent to $78,862, while the median salary fell 5.3 percent to $73,000.

Highest-paid fundraising jobs

Among U.S. fundraising professionals, senior-level fundraisers working for consulting firms and CEOs at charities received the highest average salaries — $103,689 and $87,728, respectively.

Within the six regions of the U.S., average salaries for all survey respondents ranged from $70,115 in the South Central region to $81,747 in the Northwest.

In Canada, the highest paid fundraising professionals were CEOs, who received $92,245, on average, and chief development officers, who received $91,199, on average.

Within the three regions of Canada, average salaries for all respondents ranged from $66,441 in the Eastern provinces to $99,372 in the Central provinces.

Impact of certification

Fundraising professionals who have earned a certification credential tend to have higher salaries, on average, the survey says.

In the U.S., fundraisers with a CFRE certification, or Certified Fund Raising Executive, reported average salaries over $25,000 more than survey respondents with no certification, while those who hold the ACFRE certification, or Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive, reported average salaries $46,000 higher than those with no certification.

In Canada, those with a CFRE reported average salaries more than $17,250 higher than the average for those with no certification.

Canadian survey respondents with an ACFRE or FAHP — Fellow from the Association for Health Care Philanthropy — reported significantly higher salaries than those with no certification, although the survey sample was too small to make generalizations, AFP says.

Gender gap

In the U.S., the average fundraiser’s salary in 2013 was $94,497 for men and $70,145 for women, the survey says.

With the exception of 2005, when it narrowed slightly, the salary gap in the U.S. consistently has totaled $20,000 or more during the 13 years the survey has been conducted.

In Canada, the average fundraiser’s salary was $85,780 for men and $76,826 for women.

The gap in Canada, which was down slightly, has been roughly $12,000 to $16,000 each year of the survey except 2007, when it fell to $3,353.

Turnover rates

The average turnover rate — the number of years in fundraising, divided by the number of fundraising jobs held– was 4.4 years per job for respondents in the U.S. and 3.8 years per job in Canada.

Both rates were half a point higher than a year earlier.

Todd Cohen

Fundraising, Part 10: Communication, planning key for human services

By Todd Cohen

[This article was written for Blackbaud.]

Human-services organizations, faced with uncertain government funding, are turning  increasing attention to communicating more effectively and planning more strategically, says Michael Nilsen, vice president for public affairs at the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

That includes rebranding themselves, telling their stories more effectively, assessing the impact of their programs, making better use of digital technology, and turning to donors for advice, he says.

While human-services nonprofits typically depend on government funds for much of their budget, smaller organizations generally lack the resources of larger organizations and need to be more nimble in adjusting to changes in government support, Nilsen says.

With cuts and instability in government funding, he says, many human-services groups are looking at ways to communicate more effectively, and to reposition themselves in their communities. And their need to better define their programs and impact is critical.

“They took their donors for granted, and in doing so, failed to really connect with donors and tell them how they’re impacting the community, so now that’s a huge priority,” Nilsen says.

Now, he says, human-services groups are “changing what they’re saying, and focusing on impact, storytelling and direct connection with donors.”

With the number of human-services groups growing and often competing for contributed income, Nilsen says, they need to do a better job differentiating themselves.

Human services organizations in general, he says, tend to lag behind in their branding, storytelling and ability to communicate their impact “because they haven’t had to because of government funds,” he says.

All nonprofits, including those that focus on human services, also are increasing their use of special events to generate revenue, a trend that most likely reflects a rebound in the overall economy, Nilsen says.

And as human-services groups work to rebrand and differentiate themselves, they are looking “to diversify, but stay focused,” experimenting to identify what works, and then setting priorities based on “what brings the best return,” he says.

“They can’t just keep programs going that aren’t working,” he says.

Nonprofits also are looking for ways to make more effective use of social media, particularly videos, he says, and they increasingly are involving donors as a “springboard for ideas,” asking them for feedback and advice “about where to go, not just with programs, but also with fundraising.”

Critical to the health of human-services nonprofits, Nilsen says, is planning that is intentional and strategic.

“We’ve gotten out of the worst” of the economic decline, “and if we are going to really make it and be successful, we’ve got to move, but quickly and nimbly, with real purpose,” he says. “We’re at a crossroads. With the economy expected to improve, if you miss this boat, you’re not going to do well over the next couple of years.”

Next: Peer-to-peer strategy fuels medical research

The series:

Part 1: Growth tied to capacity, cultivation, communication.

Part 2: Healthcare groups invest in capacity.

Part 3: Higher education cultivates major gifts.

Part 4: Data key for independent schools.

Part 5: International affairs groups refine message.

Part 6: Religion focuses on fundamentals.

Part 7: Arts and culture groups focus on donors.

Part 8: United Way diversifies.

Part 9: Conservation groups connect with donors.

Part 10: Communication, planning key for human services.

Part 11: Peer-to-peer strategy fuels medical research.

Nonprofits urged to ’empower’ donors

By Todd Cohen

GREENSBORO, N.C. — If nonprofits want to be change agents, they need to move beyond asking donors for money and instead give them the knowledge and tools they need to make change happen.

That was the message that Jon Duschinsky, a cause activist and founder of bethechange, delivered Aug. 23 in Greensboro at the 8th annual NC Philanthropy Conference presented by the Triad, Triangle and Charlotte chapters of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

“There’s never been a better time to change the world,” he told 430 fundraising professionals who attended the conference.

But despite the emergence of a broad range of business models to engage people, as well as a broad range of social media and other tools to “empower people and spread the message,” he said, nonprofits are “failing to seize these opportunities.”

‘Underpaid’ and ‘under-resourced’

Operating like “funnels,” nonprofits are driven “to raise more money every year,” he said , “but even if you could do that, it still wouldn’t solve the problem you were created to address.”

While passionate about their work, nonprofits are “underpaid” and “under-resourced,” with charitable giving representing only 2 percent of gross domestic product in the U.S., a share that has not changed in 40 years, he said.

“The rest of society has tasked you with changing the world, and given you 2 percent of resources to do it,” he said. “If we continue to do what we always have done, it will kill us.”

Reflecting the pressure and stress is the fact that fundraising professionals change jobs every 18 months, on average, Duschinsky  said.

“If we keep doing what we have always done, we’re not going to change the world,” he said. “You’re being stymied and prevented from doing that by the system. It’s time to change the system so we can change the world.”

Solving problems

Nonprofits were created to solve problems, he said, but they typically become preoccupied with talking about themselves, not the problems they were created to solve.

“We are having conversations with the rest of the world that the rest of the world doesn’t care about,” he said. “What you need is the idea that could unleash people interested in your cause if you let the cause  do the talking rather than letting the organization to the talking. Organizations organize problems, they don’t solve them.”

Donors need to hold boards accountable for the fact that their nonprofits typically focus on their own survival rather than on the problems they were created to address.

“We have endowed a group of people to sit at the head of organizations tasked with changing the world, and we have completely forgotten oversight, accountability,” he said.

“When an organization is created, its purpose changes from solving a problem it was set up to solve, to ensuring its sustainability,” he said. “Donors want to see problems solved.”

Knowledge an asset

Nonprofits’ greatest asset, he said, is their “understanding for how to effect change,” and they can make greater use of that knowledge by making it available to donors and others who care about the same cause.

“People don’t give money for tax reasons but to make change happen,” he said. “People want to associate themselves with values, not institutions, and make a difference.”

So instead of continuing to operate like “a hamster on a wheel, gathering resources to us  all the time,” he said, nonprofits should find ways to package, capture and share their knowledge.

“Empower people not only so you can be the change you wish to see in the world,” he said, “but so they can be the change.”

A new business model

That will require identifying the “compulsion” that drives the organization and the realistic outcome it wants to achieve; starting a “conversation that people actually want to be part of;” serving as a “champion” people can believe in; and “empowering” donors and other supporters “who passionately believe the thing you’re fighting for is worth fighting for,” Duschinsky said.

Ultimately, he said, nonprofits need to “flip” their business model.

Instead of asking donors to give money so their organizations can fix problems, he said, nonprofits need to engage donors by providing the tools and expertise they can use to be part of the solution to those problems.

“Turn your funnel upside down and empower stakeholders and donors to take the baton and run with it, so they feel they own the change you are trying to achieve,” he said. “You have to be the change you want to see in the world if you want it to happen.”