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The Nonprofit Gender Gap: How To Get The Female Leadership You Need

Forbes Nonprofit Council

POST WRITTEN BY Magdalena Nowicka Mook

Magdalena is Executive Director and CEO of ICF. She has experience coaching, consulting and association management.

The gender gap in the workplace is decreasing, and that is good news. However, the decrease is incremental, especially when it comes to leadership roles. Progress is slow, even in nonprofits, where female employees are the majority of the workforce. The gap is also present in the salaries men and women earn for similar roles at top-tier nonprofit organizations -- women earn raises averaging 4.9%, while men receive increases of 8.4%.

The gap is not due to a shortage of women striving toward leadership roles. According to research commissioned by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and New York University’s George H. Heyman Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising, 72% of women in nonprofits under age 35 and 64% of women ages 35–44 said they wanted to hold leadership positions.

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January 21, 2019 

Unfortunately, with all of the attention on federal workers, few are discussing nonprofit employees--many whose jobs are funded by federal dollars. If this is the case at your employer, hopefully by now, they have warned you about your risks if the current government shutdown fails to end soon. 

For Your Agency:  

  • If you rely on federal funds, keep a record of how the shutdown adds to your costs so you make a claim to recover those expenses post-shutdown. 
  • Search for an emergency alternative funding source such as a line of credit from your financial institution or a community foundation for an emergency grant.
  • Try and reach out to your federal grants and contracting officers to keep in touch and ask about contract expectations during the shutdown. 
  • Postpone activities and events if necessary.
  • Record all expenses and find out what can be paid retroactively.
  • Communicate with staff so everyone understands the potential impact and actions that need to be taken.
  • Have a food drive, not just for clients, but for you and your co-workers. 


Hunger Free America announced a new “Fed Food” toll-free 800 line and web portal to help anyone affected to locate free food and/or to volunteer their time to fight hunger.

United Way Worldwide on Friday announced that it will lead the formation of the United for U.S. coalition, a joint effort by corporate partners, organized labor, the United Way network and nonprofits to assist furloughed federal workers and others impacted by the ongoing government shutdown.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS.

Find a VITA/TCE Resource

Nonprofit News Sources

The Chronicle of Philanthropy serves nonprofit leaders, fundraisers, grant makers, and others involved in the philanthropic enterprise. 

Nonprofit Times provides breaking news and analysis on nonprofits: charities, associations, medical groups, religious organizations.

NonProfit PRO is the go-to source for nonprofit management and strategy. Developed for thought leaders and innovators, we cover topics ranging from internal issues such human resources, board and volunteer management to technology to tax and legal matters, news and, of course, raising funds.

Great Nonprofit Employees Serving the LGBTQ Community. 

Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. They envision a future where gender self-determination and authentic expression are seen as basic rights and matters of common human dignity.

National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business advocate and direct link between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender business owners, corporations, and government, representing the interests of more than 1.4 million LGBT business and entrepreneurs. The NGLCC is committed to forming a broad-based coalition of LGBT owned and friendly businesses, professionals, and major corporations for the purpose of promoting economic growth and the prosperity of our members.

National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA)

Founded in 1990, NLGJA is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members.

Days in November

November 1 

National Latina Equal Pay Day 

All Saint's Day

National Go Cook for Your Pets Day

November 3

Give Someone A Dollar Day

November 13

World Kindness Day

FYI: On Aug. 17, 1894 the Tariff Act was signed into law, which included exemptions for nonprofit organizations and charitable institutions. Today we celebrate National Nonprofit Day on August 17th and it was signed into law in 2017! Whoo Hoo!  #NationalNonprofitDay #NonprofitDay

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