Female Fundraisers Still Earn Less Than Male Colleagues

There is a 10 percent difference in salaries between male and female fundraisers, according to new research published by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). And, previous surveys indicate that the gender gap has not narrowed appreciably during the past 18 years.

The research, based on more than 10,000 responses to AFP’s Compensation and Benefits surveys from 2014 to 2018, found that controlling for all other factors, women fundraisers make 10.5 percent less than their male colleagues. Across the five years of the survey, women accounted for 77 percent of all the respondents.

The Impact of Gender on Fundraising Salaries 2014 – 2018 was published through AFP’s Women’s Impact Initiative (WII), a campaign to assess, address and highlight the specific issues and challenges that women in the fundraising profession face, including pay equity, harassment, inclusion in leadership, and others. A similar study using data from the AFP Compensation & Benefit Surveys for 2000 – 2005 found that controlling for all other factors, women were paid 11 percent less than men during the period.

In contrast, a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center found that, on average, women overall working in the U.S. made 84 percent as much as men. Research from Statistics Canada shows that Canadian women earn 87 cents on the dollar compared to every dollar earned by a man.

“While women may be doing better in fundraising compared to other sectors, the study shows that we still have a long way to go to achieve equity between the genders,” said Tycely Williams, CFRE, chair of the AFP Women’s Impact Initiative. “We need to have more education and awareness about these issues, and this research will serve as the baseline for our future work. Now that we understand the size of the gap and some of the issues involved in determining salary, we can begin to develop programs and resources and work to close the gap.”

In addition, one quarter of women (25.7 percent) reported experiencing one or more “negative factors” compared with 15 percent of women. Negative factors include taking time off to care for family members, relocating for a spouse or other actions that result in being out of the workforce. Negative factors contributed to a 5.7 percent decrease in pay.

“With so many variables affecting salary, we have a number of different ways we can address these issues,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “Education of CEOs, board and other nonprofit leaders is a key part of this. We’re also going to look at specific skill-building, such as negotiating salary, as another important avenue, and we’ll be announcing an important partnership in this area at our International Conference on Fundraising in late March. The bottom line is: we won’t have an equitable profession, or a profession that is as effective as it could be, until we have closed the gender salary gap.”