Missing Out: understanding the female leadership gap in fundraising

Missing Out: understanding the female leadership gap in fundraising

By Change Collective


Change Collective research commissioned by the IoF and carried out by Dr. Beth Breeze, Director of the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, and Dr.Elizabeth J. Dale, Assistant Professor in Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University, USA, explores the experiences and challenges women face in achieving equal representation at senior levels in fundraising.

Key findings 

  • The salaries of male and female fundraisers begin around the same level but over the course of their careers the gap grows. Amongst those working full-time, men reported current salaries that were 14.3% higher than women.
  • The main barrier that women experience in realising their leadership ambition is the availability of broad flexibility in relation to hours and working patterns.
  • Women experienced a lack of recognition of, and appropriate policies to account for, the full range of women’s health needs.
  • Female fundraisers are far more likely than men to claim that they have experienced stereotyping and/or preconceptions based on their gender.

Informed through almost 800 responses to an online survey, focus groups, and case studies, the report provides recommendations for charities, fundraisers and the Institute to address barriers that female fundraisers face in their careers.

Key recommendations 

  • Charities to invest in promoting and recruiting diverse candidates to Boards and Senior Management.
  • Educate trustees about stereotyping and preconceptions based on gender, and have a zero harassment policy for trustees, donors and staff within the organisation.
  • To design a working environment to suit those most in need of flexibility, and to be clear on flexible working conditions in job adverts.

The research is one of the key activities prioritised as part of the Change Collective strategy, the IoF’scampaign to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the fundraising profession. It follows on from the ‘Who isn’t in the room’ report that found women are underrepresented in senior fundraising roles, despite the profession being predominantly made up of women.

Download the research 

About the IoF

The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) is the professional membership body for UK fundraising. They support fundraisers through leadership and representation; best practice and compliance; education and networking; and champion and promote fundraising as a career choice. They have over 6,000 individual members and over 600 organisational members who raise more than £10 billion in income for good causes every year.  www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk

Resource type: Research | Published: 2020