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Moving Backwards: Women in Fundraising Earn Less Than Men, and Gap is Widening

BOSTON (October 20, 2005) — Women who work in professional not-for-profit fundraising across the Northeast earn significantly less than their male counterparts - and the gap has widened significantly over the years, according to a new study released today. The study also shows that women have yet to attain top fundraising jobs in numbers equal to men.

Conducted by the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons School of Management, the study is the first comprehensive regional comparison of salary levels and career advancement for men and women in the fundraising profession. Although more women than men work as professional fundraisers, the study shows that women in the field earn on average about $19,000 — or 22 percent - less per year than men. Data from earlier salary studies in the Boston area indicate that salary gap has grown nearly 80 percent since 1988, when men earned about $10,600 more than women.

The study also found that women are clustered in the middle and entry-level ranks and many work at smaller, lower paying non-profits. Men outnumber women at the top-level positions and tend to have jobs at higher paying not-for-profits such as large teaching hospitals and colleges and universities.

The findings indicate there is a "glass ceiling" for women in professional fundraising that employers should address, said Betsy Kamborian, president of Women in Development in Greater Boston, which commissioned the study. The study's results were presented today at the association's meeting in Boston.

Simmons School of Management Professor Susan D. Sampson, who conducted the study, said the study points out "a glaring discrepancy in a profession critical to assuring the financial health of non-profits. And it's getting worse."

The report recommends employers examine their compensation, advancement practices, and work family policies, including job assignments and mentoring, and create accountability among senior leadership for progress in these areas.

The study surveyed more than 970 fundraising professionals in the six New England states and metropolitan New York in July 2005. Of the respondents, 800 were women and 170 were men. Fifty four percent were from Greater Boston. There are thousands of professional fundraisers working in the Greater Boston area alone.

Among the key findings: - The average salary for women was $67,271, about 22 percent less than the $86,265 average salary for men.

- The "glass ceiling" begins at the director level. Women slightly outnumber men at this level, but then trail men heading into the vice president and chief development officer ranks.

-Women tend to work in smaller organizations where pay is lower. Fifty percent of women work in organizations with budgets of less than $20 million, versus 36 percent of men.

-Thirty percent of the women surveyed were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their pay level versus 15 percent of men.

Women in Development of Greater Boston is a professional association devoted to promoting philanthropy and the advancement of women in the profession, The association has more than 900 members and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

The Simmons School of Management ( runs the only MBA program in the country specifically designed for women. Simmons College is a nationally recognized private university located in the heart of Boston.