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New study results: Some charity fundraisers make hefty salaries, bonuses

For two, salaries and bonuses exceed $1 million
For two, salaries and bonuses exceed $1 million
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A new study, published on April 21, 2014 by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, documents the lucrative pay enjoyed by some charity fundraisers. According to the Chronicle, dozens of fundraisers for nonprofit organizations take home in excess of $500K, with two or more earning more than $1-million. Large bonuses come into play for top fundraisers, more than doubling base earnings. The Chronicle salary survey, a first-ever study of fundraiser pay at $35 million-plus nonprofits, was compiled using data reported in nonprofit organizations' 2011 IRS 990 tax forms; the most recent data available.

The study results show that fundraisers at medical institutions and universities are the most highly paid, with salaries and bonuses exceeding their counterparts at arts, environmental other nonprofits. According to the Chronicle, 'the two top-paid fundraisers in 2011 were at memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (pay = $1.2 million) and Columbia University (whose pay was > $1 million). Both got generous bonuses that year, which tipped them over the $1-million mark. A total of 29 fundraisers made over $500K and an additional 154 earned $250K or more.'

The Chronicle salary survey is unique and thorough. GuideStar, an information service that specializes in reporting on United States nonprofit companies, looks at all fundraising salaries. However, they do not give out organizational names and they don't examine top-tier fundraisers as the Chronicle study does. Another organization, The Association of Fundraising Professionals, also does a salary survey, but it only includes it's members and the survey is a voluntary one. Use the link above to access the study in it's entirety.