Gender Pay Equity in the Fundraising Profession: Why is this still an issue?

February 13th, 2009   •   1 Comment   

AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) annual Compensation and Benefits Study (2006) reveals that from 2004 to 2005 salaries for professional fundraisers decreased in the United States and remained stable in Canada

The average salary for U.S. respondents to the 2006 survey fell to $67,181 in 2005, a 16.7% decrease from the average in 2004. During the same period, average salaries for Canadian fundraisers increased by 2.3%, to $65,768.

While the survey results reveal a to-be-expected correlation between salary level and factors like geography, organizational size, tenure in the profession and possessing the CFRE credential, it also revealed that a significant gender gap continues to exist between the salaries of male and female fundraisers.

Male fundraisers in the U.S. reported an average salary of $76,148 in 2005. Women earned $62,980 on average.

In Canada male fundraisers reported an average salary of $75,254 in 2005. Women earned $63,055 on average. Seventy percent of all respondents (both U.S. and Canada) classified themselves as female, while 30 percent classified themselves as male.

Several survey questions addressed respondents’ perceptions of the reasons for the salary gender gap. Forty-four percent of respondents in both countries stated they feel there is widespread salary gender bias in fundraising. Top reasons cited for this gap included the “double standard” in society and the unconscious bias of supervisors. Other high ranking reasons included the fact that women employees have been hesitant to complain about salary bias, and male employees tend to be more aggressive in pursuing salary raises.

In a profession where each year sees a greater percentage of females, the persistent gender gap in pay scales seems incongruous. Perhaps in an era when we’ve witnessed watershed moments like the election of the first African American U.S. president, we will also see the extinction of a disparity that itself should have become extinct a long time ago. I hope it becomes extinct before I do.

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One Response

  1. Administrator says:

    The wage disparity is particulary interesting, given that the majority of professionals working in the charitable sector are women.