Based on analysis of data from its annual 2012 Nonprofit Compensation Report, GuideStar has created an infographic that illustrates the impact of gender on compensation in the nonprofit sector.  The report analyzes total compensation paid by 77,449 tax exempt organizations for 116,807 positions, as reported on Forms 990 for FY 2010.

While Form 990 does not require the reporting of gender, GuideStar analysts assigned gender based on first or middle names.  In 80 percent of the cases, names were in common usage and clearly associated with one gender. When gender was unclear (for example, “Pat” and “Carol”), the data were not used.  In general, it was found that there are more females holding top positions at small organizations, while males dominate medium and large organizations.

While the number of female CEOs of all charitable organizations increased from 2000 to 2010, only 17 percent of all organizations with over $50 million in annual expenses had female CEOs in 2010.  The salary gap actually widened over that decade for organizations with annual expenses between $1 million and $10 million.

The infographic shows that the compensation gap between male and female CEOs is approximately 12 percent for organizations with annual expenses of less than $250,000. This increases to 20 percent for those with annual expenses of over $5 million.

The survey also includes tables of median compensation by geographic locations, size, and type of organization.  Obviously, nonprofit boards setting compensation for their top level executives should not be considering gender, but rather finding what is being paid for similar jobs in similar circumstances.  The more detailed data needed are available from ERI’s Nonprofit Comparables Assessor.  The software allows the user to easily calculate average competitive compensation levels, selecting the relevant data by type of organization, geographic area, and size (revenue or assets) so that truly similar organizations are included in the analyses.  Access to the source documents for the data is only a click away, so verification is simple.

The analysis provided by the Nonprofit Comparables Assessor is the kind of data that the IRS wants nonprofit boards to use when making compensation decisions.  In fact, the IRS and various state charity regulators use this same software to aid in their determinations of what is reasonable compensation.  Download the free demo version at