Once Again, Mass. Women Nonprofit Leaders Paid Less
Male-female inequality

September 21, 2020 — A newly completed analysis of nonprofit leadership and compensation found that women who lead Massachusetts nonprofit organizations continue to earn less than their male counterparts – and the larger the organization, the greater the disparity in compensation.

According to the <i>2020 Nonprofit Compensation Report</i>, produced by Candid, an organization formed by GuideStar and the Foundation Center, average compensation for women CEO/executive directors in Massachusetts in 2018 was 88.5% of what their male peers received –$58,738, compared to $66,361for men at organizations with an annual budget less than $500,000, which comprises the majority of all nonprofits in the state.

The compensation gap for organizations with an annual budget less than $500,000 widened since last year, when women CEO/executive directors $58,022, or 90.0% of the $64,488 earned by men.

For organizations with an annual budget between $500,000 and $1 million, the new report found that women earned $93,566, or 87.7% of the $106,732 earned by men.

However, the gap increased for organizations with an annual budget between $1 million and $5 million, where women CEO/executive directors earned compensation totaling $130,268, or 79.5% of the $163,779 earned by men.

That gap mushroomed for organizations with an annual budget greater than $5 million: women CEO/executive directors on average received compensation of $271,700, or 60.5% of the $448,784 compensation given to male.

Nationally, the report found that between 2017 and 2018, the share of women leading nonprofit organizations increased in six of nine budget groups and remained the same in three other groups.

With one exception, however, the size of the female CEO pay gap remained the same or even increased from 2017 to 2018.

Other findings from the 2020 report include:

  • Incumbent CEO compensation increased steadily: The median percentage increases for CEOs in 2018 were in line with or slightly higher than the median percentage increases in 2017, regardless of gender or organization size.

  • Cause area and mission affected compensation: Health, science, and technology nonprofit organizations compensated with highest median salaries, whereas religion and animal-related organizations had the lowest median compensations.

Following are gaps in CEO compensation between men and women at nonprofits nationally:

Annual Budget Size20172018
Less than $250,0005%5%
$250,000 - $500,00011%11%
$500,000 - $1,000,00012%12%
$1,000,000 - $2,500,00014%13%
$2,500,000 - $5,000,00015%15%
$5,000,000 - $10,000,00016%16%
$10,000,000 - $25,000,00018%19%
$25,000,000 - $50,000,00014%17%
More than $50,000,00020%20%

Following are the percentage of women who hold CEO positions at nonprofits nationally:

Annual Budget Size20172018
Less than $250,00058%58%
$250,000 - $500,00059%59%
$500,000 - $1,000,00055%56%
$1,000,000 - $2,500,00051%51%
$2,500,000 - $5,000,00045%46%
$5,000,000 - $10,000,00040%42%
$10,000,000 - $25,000,00035%37%
$25,000,000 - $50,000,00030%33%
More than $50,000,00023%25%