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#TimesUp for the Nonprofit Gender Gap

March 09, 2018

Donor_perfect_workbook_for_womenFrom limited leadership roles to unequal pay to sexual harassment, the nonprofit community is coming to terms with its own #MeToo moment.

As a national conversation takes place around women’s issues, the surprising lack of gender diversity in nonprofit leadership along with the issues that surround it can no longer be overlooked.

For a sector that is largely funded and staffed by women, the numbers are troubling. While women make up about 73 percent of all nonprofit employees, they only hold 45 percent of nonprofit CEO roles. When it comes to pay, women nonprofit CEOs make just 66 percent of what their male counterparts make.

Fortunately, many nonprofits are having open discussions and taking action to promote gender equity in and beyond their organizations. 

In support of this crucial initiative, DonorPerfect partnered with five inspiring women who rose to the top of their organizations to create The Nonprofit Leadership Workbook for Women. This free downloadable guide commemorates Women's History Month in March, and every day, and offers a platform for these leaders to pass along what they believe it takes for more women in the nonprofit sector to ascend the ranks.

“This shift of power is so critically important. This shift in presence is so critically important,” says Marcia Coné, workbook contributor, author, and women’s advocate. “What follows is a shift in action, education, and understanding. It’s about balance and finding that there is space for both men and women to thrive, for both men and women to be safe.”

The Nonprofit Leadership Workbook for Women is designed to help women develop and demonstrate their skills, build their personal brands, expand their professional networks, and speak up to get what they really want — in and beyond the office. Its exercises challenge readers to set goals and create an action plan to achieve them. 

“She who dares, wins. There are so many rules and best practices in the nonprofit world, but if you sit back and follow every rule, you'll never be able to do what needs to be done within your organization,” says founder and CEO of Evoluer House and workbook contributor Cheryl Ann Wadlington. “Trust and creativity matters because doing the same thing the same way as everyone else is not going to cut the mustard and move your mission forward.”

From professional polish to the often overlooked art of self-care, the next wave of nonprofit leaders needs to tailor their growth in ways that reflect their unique wants, goals, strengths, and characteristics. 

Nonprofit leadership requires a vision, the ability to bring people together, and a knack for assembling a team of people who complement one another’s strengths.

Workbook contributor Tycely Williams, vice president of development at YWCA USA, says, “This initiative’s goal is to serve up an actionable and achievable plan to inspire women to lead with clarity, compassion, and renewed confidence. Regardless of where you are or where you want to be — these tips will help you achieve or sustain your leadership success.”

Among the many traits exhibited by successful leaders are excellent communication skills, a willingness to work on both strategy and execution, strong business acumen, flexibility, and an unwavering commitment to the task at hand.

In addition to professional development, the workbook addresses how to balance the many roles women play outside the office. “It’s so easy for modern women to get in that space where you’re just everything to everyone all the time,” says Coné. “We need to teach women and girls that ‘You matter and you need to take care of yourself, because that way you’ll have more to give to those around you’.”

The nonprofit community needs diverse perspectives, experience, and skills if it hopes to see wonderful causes around the world flourish. That change can only begin when women are empowered to rise up and serve a mission in roles that suit them best.

Download a free copy of Nonprofit Leadership Workbook for Women.

EmilyRosePatzEmily Rose Patz is the lead writer of The Nonprofit Leadership Workbook for Women at DonorPerfect, a company that helps nonprofits engage with donors via software tools for fundraising and cultivation. She often writes about fundraising and donor engagement best practices, inspiring growth stories, and trending topics in the nonprofit community.

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