Salary Forecast: Nonprofit Director of Development

The salary of a nonprofit Director of Development can vary significantly. The salary depends on several factors, such as region, experience, education, mission/focus of the nonprofit, size of the organization, and more. Narrowing down a precise salary for this position isn’t completely possible, but you can definitely get a good idea of the potential salary you could earn as a Director of Development by comparing figures from various sources.

A Salary Boost: the CFRE

Before you delve into some of the more concrete numbers associated with a Director of Development position, it’s important to note that many positions will require or find preferable your having a Certified Fund Raising Executive designation. This certification requires you to complete an application and an exam, and to promise to abide by a particular code of ethics and accountability standards. Having this designation can boost your salary in some cases significantly, according to


The NonProfit Times published the “2014 Nonprofit Organizations Salary and Benefit Survey,” which provides a significant amount of helpful data on the salaries for Directors of Development. Within the job family of “Executive,” for example, a Chief Development Officer salary was $108,793. reports the average salary of Development Directors to be $90,087 per year, based on 6,118 salaries reported in the previous 36 months, although this job title is not limited to just nonprofits (last updated 10 June 2018)., on the other hand, reports that the average base pay for a Director of Development is $85,270 per year. Additional cash compensation averages $12,686, although the range for this is between $1,816 and $38,764.

One factor that can affect salary, as mentioned previously, is the particular focus of a nonprofit. In general, you can expect to earn less with an arts organization than you can if you work with a large academic and medical center. Social and human service agency salaries fall in between these two extremes, according to CareerTrend.

In a March 2010 article on, the nonprofit pay for a Director of Development in Washington, D.C. in the arts, educational, and social –service category earned between $90,000 and $100,000 in an organization with between a $2.1 and $5 million budget, but it was just $80,000 to $90,000 for an organization of the same size in the associations, health-care, and international organizations category.

Size can affect salary, too. A small organization in the “nonprofit” industry is reported on Glassdoor to have an average base pay of just $53,451 each year. An organization in the same “industry” with between 1,001 and 5,000 employees has an average base pay of $69,835 per year. The article stated that the salary was between $80,000 and $90,000 in the associations, health-care, and international organizations categorizations with a budget of between $2.1 and 5 million. If the budget was over $50 million, that salary increased to between $130,000 and $150,000.

If you’re new to the fundraising scene, you can expect to earn a lower salary than more experienced development professionals. You may earn an average salary of about $43,023 per year with between zero and one year of experience. When you’re in the game between four and six years, that increases to an average of $50,318. After 10 to 14 years, you can expect to earn an average salary of $60,229 per year.

Geography is another important factor in the determination of a Director of Development salary. You may find that you earn less in one region than in another. In 2012, the median salary in South-Central states was just $72,073, but it was as high as $87,586 in the Northeast, according to CareerTrend, citing survey by the Association of Nonprofit Professionals.

Gender affects salary as well. In 2011, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported on the median pay for top development officers in general. Females tended to earn less than their male counterparts. For example, in organizations with a budget of between $5 and $9.9 million, the median female salary was $113,812, and males had a median salary of $118,846.