Gender Gap Continues for US & Canadian Fundraisers … What About Israel?

On May 17, an article was posted by eJewish Philanthropy, which discussed the results of a report done by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The report stated that while the majority of fundraisers in the US and Canada are seeing increases in their salaries, there is still a “gender gap” when it comes to wages. Here is the full article:

(I apologize that I am writing a few weeks after it came out; most of my posts recently were my series on Dan Pallotta’s “Ted Talk”).

First of all, I’d like to say that I think it’s great that the majority of fundraisers (in the US and Canada) received raises in 2012. I think it is a sign that we are really out of the “dark era” of the 2008-2009 economic crisis, and as fundraisers, that is great news not only for salaries, but for soliciting donors as well.

But what’s the deal with the gender gap in salaries? Haven’t “we” (as a global society) moved beyond this?? Why is this (still) happening, and what can we do about it? Ironically (or maybe not! 🙂 ), there are definitely many non-profit organizations that campaign for equal pay for women.

I’m also guessing (this is just my opinion) that the salary gap is not just because “men are doing a better job”. I know that in Israel, if an organization tells you that they want to pay “base salary + commission (on the money you raise)”, or that you will work on “commission only (again, on the funds you raise)”, it is viewed as a very unprofessional organization, and no one who considers him/herself to be a professional fundraiser would agree to work under these terms. I would imagine that the same is true in the US and in Canada. So we are talking about annual salaries that are not affected by commissions. Fundraisers are not salespeople (although there is some overlap in the skill set), and should not be making commission on the donations they raise.

I also thought that it was interesting that 74% of the survey respondents were female, and 26% were male. Now, anyone involved in the non-profit field knows that it is a female-dominated field (I’ll explore this topic in more depth in an upcoming post). And yet, even so, women are still making significantly less than men. Why?

One guess that I would venture is that women are less likely than men to negotiate their salaries when they are hired, which already sets the bar for their salaries to be lower than men’s. I can relate … I consider myself to be a pretty “ballsy” person and I feel that I know what I am worth, yet I also find salary negotiation to be very intimidating. But, I have started doing it (in my active job search, which you can read about in a previous post), because I know that I have to. And really, what is there to lose? Worst case scenario, the company cannot pay you more than what they offered, so you have to decide if you are willing to take the job for the salary offered. Best case scenario, you get more money! 🙂 I think that one of the things that makes negotiating intimidating for me is that I am never sure what a fair salary is for a particular job (we need a in Israel … 😉 ). So, in the absence of (and perhaps this is even better), I speak with many individuals in the non-profit world to try to gauge a sense of appropriate salaries for positions. So, I guess my point is: Ladies, don’t be afraid! Or, even if you are afraid, still negotiate! 🙂 You owe it to yourself. The same goes for asking for raises at your annual review. If you’ve done a good job, you deserve (in my opinion) at least a “cost of living” increase, if not a proper raise (especially if you have taken on more responsibilities over the year).

I also think it is interesting to note that, although non-profit is a field dominated by women, usually it is the men who hold the top positions. (Again, this topic will be explored further in an upcoming post.) I can think of some reasons as to why that may be (although I might not agree with them), but still, to me it does not explain the gender gap in wages.

I am also very interested to know what the statistics are regarding the gender gap in Israel (as this is where I live). Does anyone have any information on this?
I would also love to hear your ideas as to why this gender gap exists, and what can be done about it.

Chava Ashkenazi
Jerusalem, Israel

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