President's Perspective Blog

Disclosing Salaries is Good for the Fundraising Profession and Society as a Whole

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access (IDEA): Diversity and Inclusion (IDEA)
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Please note: This message originally appeared on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s website as a letter to the editor. Read on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s website here (letter is behind a paywall and requires a paid subscription).

The Association of Fundraising Professionals, which I lead, strongly disagrees with Vincent Robinson’s recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Philanthropy in which he states that showing salaries in job postings is the “wrong battle” for achieving nonprofit workplace diversity. His perspective is misguided and harmful.

Robinson has many good suggestions, but the one he chooses to focus on makes no sense.

Don’t stop looking until your candidate pool is diverse? Agreed. Go beyond mainstream job posting platforms? Yes. Build a diverse search committee, and set compensation objectively and fairly? Absolutely. These are all great ideas and should be part of every organization’s hiring process.

But don’t disclose salaries? How can he believe that’s a good idea when the research shows that a lack of salary transparency contributes to hiring inequity and reinforces gender and race wage gaps in the fundraising profession and society as a whole? Not disclosing salary ranges contradicts our field’s emphasis on transparency and accountability, which happens to be a key tenet of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Code of Ethics.

After looking closely at this issue over the last few years, our organization made the decision to require charities using our job site to include salary ranges in their employment postings. We know that requiring salary information is not a panacea, but it is one critical step toward increasing equity and diversity in the profession and the nonprofit field.

We’ve received nothing but positive feedback in response from charities using our site. Perhaps this is because employers recognize the value of salary transparency. Research shows that job postings that include salary ranges receive approximately30 percent more attention than those without such information.

I don’t want to dismiss Robinson’s significant experience and outlook. His op-ed includes important guidance that charities should embrace. But his main message is off the mark. Charities and all hiring organizations — including job boards such as the one hosted by this publication — need to show salary ranges in their job postings. It will help the field take a critical step toward achieving gender and racial pay equity and, in turn, assist nonprofits in finding the widest pool of diverse candidates best equipped to serve their organizations and communities.

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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