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AFP Launches New Campaign to Address Gender Inequity in Fundraising

March 8, 2018

On International Women’s Day, AFP has launched the Women’s Impact Initiative (WII) to address issues of gender inequity in the fundraising profession and charitable sector, including sexual harassment, salary inequality, and the lack of women in senior leadership roles.

The Initiative is a two-year campaign to assess, address and highlight the specific issues and challenges that women in the fundraising profession face with the ultimate goal of creating resources that help overcome gender inequity issues in the profession. The initiative’s objectives will be focused on research, education, awareness, and guidance and support. WII will culminate with a Women’s Impact Summit as a stand-alone event in 2019.

“Women make up approximately 70 percent of the fundraising profession, but account for only about 30 percent of fundraising leadership roles throughout the charitable sector,” said Ann Hale, CFRE, the chair of AFP. “AFP’s own Compensation and Benefits Report has shown that female salaries are consistently $20,000 less than salaries for our male counterparts. The issue of inequity—along with related issues such as implicit bias and harassment—is critical if we are to have a diverse, fair, vibrant and growing fundraising profession. AFP is committed to addressing these issues through the Women’s Impact Initiative and other activities.”

The first major action under WII is the release of a comprehensive survey about sexual harassment in the profession conducted by AFP and The Chronicle of Philanthropy through Harris Poll. The results of the survey, which included over 1,000 fundraisers across the U.S. and Canada, will be released in early April and at AFP’s International Fundraising Conference. That data will be used to develop anti-sexual harassment resources for the profession and made available to AFP members and non-members.

WII will also feature a variety of educational materials and resources, research and calls to action to engage the profession, all at the WII website: Those interested in the campaign can use the hashtag #WIILead for associated social media efforts.

The Initiative is being led by a task force chaired by Tycely Williams, CFRE, vice president of development for the YWCA of the USA in Washington, D.C. 

“While WII is addressing some very challenging and in my case, very personal issues, the goal of the Initiative is meant to empower,” said Williams. “We want to provide the tools, skills and resources so that fair and equitable salaries can be negotiated. We want to provide the resources that create cultures and standards that are against harassment in all its forms. We want to provide mentoring programs, as well as research and other services, that can break barriers and create new leadership opportunities for women. There are so many great things we can do for the profession by coming together under WII, and I encourage everyone—regardless of gender—to get involved.”

WII is the first campaign under AFP’s new IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Impact Program. The underlying goal of the program is to remove the leadership gap in the fundraising profession by engaging, training, and supporting different diverse communities as they move into the profession. The program and its initiatives will work to create a fundraising profession that is not only diverse, but inclusive and equitable. 

“Whether you are looking to move into leadership or are just getting into the profession – ALL people should have safe and open workplaces free from harassment and bullying,” said Mike Geier, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of AFP. “All fundraisers should be recognized equally for their contributions. That’s why the IDEA Impact Program and the Women’s Impact Initiative were created. Even though WII is a two-year project, the underlying programs and services will remain in place and continue to serve the profession. AFP is dedicated to addressing these issues for the long-term.”

For more information about the Women’s Impact Initiative, please contact Heba Mahmoud at or (703) 519-8486.

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