Gender gap grows in nonprofit pay

PJ staff report

The gap in nonprofit compensation between men and women grew in fiscal 2008 after narrowing in previous years, a new report says.

While women held 48 percent of positions at roughly 100,000 charities in the GuideStar database of digitized IRS Form 990 information, up 1 percent from 2007, for example, they received only 29 percent of total compensation, down from 35 percent in 2007, says the 10th annual GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report.

Women held 57 percent of CEO positions at nonprofits with annual expenses of $1 million or less, but only 38 percent at nonprofits with annual expense over $1 million.

In 2008, women serving as CEOs received bigger hikes in median compensation, continuing a trend of recent years, suggesting that women in positions other than CEO are not making the stead gains seen among female CEOs, the report says.

Both men and women serving as CEOs at bigger nonprofits received proportionately bigger increases in compensation.

The median increase in salaries from 2007 to 2008 totaled 3.8 percent for CEOs at nonprofits with annual budgets between $500,000 and $1 million, compared to 5.1 percent at nonprofits with annual budgets over $50 million.

The percentage increase in salaries at charities of all sizes generally was higher in 2008 than in 2007.

Health and science nonprofits paid the highest overall median salaries, while food, religion and youth-development groups paid the lowest.

For the fifth straight year, Washington, D.C., has the highest overall median salaries of the 20 biggest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S., while the Riverside-San Bernadino metro area in California had the lowest.

Adjusted for cost of living, San Francisco nonprofit executive once again had the lowest median buying power, while those in Detroit had the highest.

“Nonprofits are tasked with documenting to oversight agencies, grantmakers of all types (government, corporations and private foundations), and individual donors that the salaries and benefits they offer are justified, Chuck McLean, vice president of research at GuideStar and author of the report, says in a statement.

“They should provide information on their compensation practices,” he says, “and be prepared to help their supporters understand why these practices are appropriate.”

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