Gender Pay Gap in Fundraising Persists, AFP Study Finds

Gender Pay Gap in Fundraising Persists, AFP Study Finds

The fundraising profession suffers from a gender pay gap, with women fundraisers making about 10 percent less than their male counterparts, a report from the Association of Fundraising Professionals finds. 

Released on International Women's Day and based on more than ten thousand survey responses to AFP's Compensation and Benefits Studies between 2014 and 2018, the report, The Impact of Gender on Fundraising Salaries 2014-2018 (95 pages, PDF), found that, controlling for other factors, women make 10.5 percent less than their male colleagues. Gender was just one of several factors, however, with organizational size and the individual's position and educational attainment among the factors having the most impact on salary. For example, fundraisers at nonprofits with budgets between $3 million and $9.9 million were paid 18.2 percent more than those at organizations with budgets of less than $1 million, while fundraisers with a doctoral or professional degree earned 15.5 percent more than those without such a degree. 

Supported by DonorPerfect, the report also found that while women comprise a significant majority of the fundraising profession, men were more likely than women to benefit from factors that lead to higher salaries. The survey found, for example, that 42 percent of male respondents worked in an organization with a budget of at least $10 million, compared with a third of women respondents; that nearly 60 percent of men held a higher-level position, compared with 52.5 percent of women; and that 52.3 percent of men had an advanced degree, compared with 42.5 percent of women.

The study also found "negative factors" such as taking time off work to care for family or otherwise interrupting one's career contributed to a 5.7 percent decrease in pay, all other factors being equal, with more than a quarter (25.7 percent) of women respondents reporting that they had experienced one or more negative factors, compared with 15 percent of men. The gap between men and women experiencing specific negative factors was largest for taking time off to care for a child (1.1 percent of men and 11.2 percent of women) and relocating for a spouse (4.2 percent of men and 8.8 percent of women). 

"What the research shows is the complexity of the gender pay gap," said AFP chair Martha Schumacher. "There are so many factors affecting salary — some of them systemic and cultural, while others may be more specific to individual practitioners — and we have a lot more work to do to gain a greater understanding of how all of them fit together. But the data shows a very real gender gap that we must address."

"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, chair of the AFP Women's Impact Initiative. "We need to have a lot 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 it."

"The Impact of Gender on Fundraising Salaries 2014-2018." Association of Fundraising Professionals Report 03/08/2019. "New Research Finds Gender Gap Persists in Fundraising Salaries, Identifies Key Factors in Compensation Levels." Association of Fundraising Professionals Press Release 03/08/2019.