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Position paper: Parity in the Fundraising Profession

Note: The following information is adapted from a position paper first developed by the NSFRE (now AFP)Parity Task Force in 1994.


The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is committed to advancing parity in the fundraising profession. Through programs, educational offerings, materials and research, it addresses the factors -- racial, gender, and age biases; credentialing and skills; lack of information; geographic region; organizational size; and mission -- that hinder parity in salary and benefits for all fundraising professionals.

AFP is committed to educating its members, and through them their employers and volunteer boards, about the parity laws as well as policies and procedures that may hinder or help parity in salary, benefits, and opportunity for all in our profession.

AFP is also fully committed to complying with, supporting and enhancing not only the letter, but also the spirit of the laws. AFP members are expected to comply with these regulations when making decisions about advertising, hiring, and compensating positions they supervise.


The demographics of U.S. society, its workforce and those served by its nonprofit institutions are becoming increasingly diverse. As groups that have traditionally held less power in the workplace -- women, racially and ethnically diverse workers, differently abled workers -- become more involved in professional fundraising, the profession is challenged to ensure parity in compensation, hiring, and advancement opportunities among all fundraisers.

Parity issues

Like other employers, nonprofit institutions are governed by U.S. laws that require equal opportunity in compensation and employment practices. The issue of parity within the fundraising profession, however, involves more than legal compliance. Challenges to ensuring parity include:

  • Developing diverse leadership for the fundraising field.
  • Addressing the differences in experience and employer type, size, and location that often influence the opportunities available to female, racially and ethnically diverse, and differently abled fundraisers.
  • Recognizing and addressing the equity issues faced by aging fundraisers.
  • Educating nonprofit employers about the advantages of recruiting, hiring, and rewarding diverse fundraising professionals.
  • Educating managers to support and empower diverse fundraisers.
  • Training professionals to assess their abilities, market themselves, and negotiate for better compensation and advancement opportunities.

The AFP role in strengthening parity

AFP represents a membership of of over 30,000 people who help raise money on behalf of a wide variety of nonprofit, charitable organizations across the U.S. Since its founding in 1960, AFP has provided educational services and materials; set standards for practice in the profession; collected and shared information (and promoted research) about fundraising and philanthropy; and recognized significant leadership in fundraising, volunteerism and philanthropy.

To strengthen parity within nonprofit institutions and the fundraising profession, AFP is committed to implementing new activities in the following areas.

1. Skill development

Through its Professional Advancement Division and its 242 chapters, AFP will sponsor workshops and educational materials related to parity issues, with special training opportunities directed at female, racially and ethnically diverse, differently abled, and aging fundraisers. Topics will include:

  • Negotiation.
  • Assertiveness.
  • Communication.
  • Self-evaluation and promotion strategies.
  • Job search skills.

2. Mentoring

The AFP divisions (Professional Advancement, Membership Services and External Relations) are committed to strengthening mentoring programs that pair advanced executives with female and culturally diverse proteges for career advice and counsel. Programs to pair displaced, older fundraisers with colleagues for career consultation will also be developed.

3. Parity training

To foster the willingness to accept diversity and promote parity within our institutions, AFP and its chapters will provide materials that can be disseminated to nonprofit employers, boards of directors and human resource managers on recruiting, hiring, managing, and rewarding diverse fundraising professionals.

4. Leadership development and advancement opportunities

Within its established structure of local chapters represented by a National Assembly and board of directors, AFP is instituting a new program of leadership training for elected chapter officers. Through our expanding task force and committee structure, additional opportunities for volunteer leadership will be provided to members.

AFP will also institute other programs for fast career-tracking of female and culturally diverse fundraisers such as internships, training seminars and targeted scholarships to the Society's International Conference on Fundraising. 

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