Putting Pay Equity into Practice

Ten years ago, BCNM began research that was eventually released as “74% – Exploring the lives of Women in Nonprofit Organizations”.  One of the primary findings was a gap in salaries between female and male executives, particularly in organizations with an annual budget over 7 million.  Women executives, we learned, were earning approximately 74 cents for every dollar that was paid to men.  While this study revealed trends on the executive level, there are similar national and international trends in wage inequity for a variety of groups – ranging from people of color to people with disabilities.

The latest iteration of BCNM’s biannual wage and benefits survey indicated that the pay gap originally identified had significantly decreased – now the earning gap was 81 cents on the dollar.  It’s great news, but also begs new questions – what was going on behind the scenes that made the change?   Perhaps board members were making time to consider the list of HR questions that BCNM generated.  Possibly they were also making some changes in hiring or promotion practices.

What kind of actual, on-the-ground hiring practices lead to equitable pay? A few years ago, Vu Le of Ranier Valley Corps wrote a blog post naming the disclosure of salary ranges as a way to promote equity, both with new hires and inside of the organization.  One of the points of the post was women and others who often find themselves paid less than the industry average get caught in a cycle if new salaries are based on incremental upticks on past, discriminatory salaries. Furthermore, Vu argued, time is a privilege. It’s harder for lower-earning but highly qualified people to spend their time angling for jobs that they can’t ultimately afford to take. The comment section lit up with relief on his perspective and stories of past frustrations.  Some states have been considering the same idea for the same reasons and nine have currently enacted legislation banning employers from asking about salary history (Pittsburgh bans salary history questions, but only for City positions).

However, executive director searches are located with the board of trustees, not HR.  Will salary disclosure work towards equity in these cases? Susan Egmont, a search consultant in Boston and a friend of BCNM, feels that many boards approach hiring a new director the way that people approach buying houses.  They may have a fixed budget and set of most desirable qualities in mind at the start, but the search itself often educates them about a reasonable salary given the market as well as highlight criteria that weren’t originally on their radar.  In those cases, publishing a wage range at the start of a search may discourage qualified, diverse applicants from applying.  Wage equity in hiring at the top level, in her experience, is promoted by a diverse set of people and perspectives on the board, as well as a collective understanding of what the job is worth.

There is no one practice that can eliminate wage discrimination within organizations.  BCNM’s research indicated that larger organizations where there was a woman board chair and a woman executive, there was even greater wage inequity.  This gives some indication of the complexity of the issue, and the way that cultural practices and assumptions have generational impacts.

In considering whether disclosing salary ranges for open positions and prohibiting questions on salary history can be a tool for equity in your organization, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we hire a number of people with the same job description, or do we write customized job descriptions for each new hire? (it’s easier to implement this policy when you have standard job descriptions)
  • What information do we currently provide about our compensation policies to existing staff?
  • How can we educate ourselves on the market before we publish our posting?

Equity can be explored both as an art and a science.  We need creativity as well as ongoing, intentional testing to reach the dollar for dollar mark.

Interested in creating more transparency and equitable salary distributions in your organization? BCNM consultants may be able to help.  Contact loucks@rmu.edu for more information. 


Critical Strategies for Fundraising Success: Join us on June 27!

This interactive and intensive session will explore four mainstays of fundraising success: leadership, systems, case, and donors. Participants will learn how to develop a fundraising board, manage top donors, identify new donors, prepare a poignant one-page case for support, and build relationships that will lead to long-term fundraising success.

Along with step-by-step instruction for implementing each strategy, you’ll get tips, tricks and templates that can be used each year to set up your fundraising program for success.

Instructor: Emma Gilmore Kieran, Pilot Peak Consulting
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)
Register online today, or call Shelby at 412-397-6000 to register over the phone.

If You Cannot Find a Local Community, DIY It!

By guest author Rebekah Jenkins, Director of Operations, Grow Pittsburgh. For more information about the Peer Operations Network, email Rebekah: rebekah@growpittsburgh.org.

“What you do today can improve all of your tomorrows”
Ralph Marston

I absolutely adore nonprofits. I love how they are mission-driven and are built on serving others. I’ve worked for nonprofits in some capacity for the last 18 years. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that many of these small organizations are not always fully staffed. Sometimes there’s not enough money for everything and people are forced to wear many hats. This much has been true in the previous positions I’ve held at nonprofits and it is still true in my current role as Director of Operations for Grow Pittsburgh.

Operations work has never been ‘sexy’ but it has always been vital to every organization, no matter the industry. Operations work is needed to keep programs work moving, but the level of support for operations staff never seems to be as accessible as it is for program-centered employees or high-level leadership. For a long time I searched for a support system…a group of individuals who do the same kind of work that I do, and who understand what it means to be a nonprofit operations professional. I had found support for the ‘accidental techie’ in me from the Bagels & Bytes group, sponsored by BCNM, but I was looking for the equivalent for my operations work. I looked around to see if someone else had started such a group – with little success. I searched and asked around and no one had heard of such a thing. Thus the Peer Operations Network was born.

I was really anxious about starting something like this. What if my request went ignored? What if I was the only one who was dealing with these issues? How did everyone else find their support system??

I started by sending messages on LinkedIn and Facebook, two easy and quick ways to reach real people. I figured it was an easy way to organize folks around this topic. When I first sent out the message only a few people responded. One of those people was Robert Young from Simpson McCrady Insurance. He responded with a desire to support this work, after having spent some of his career in nonprofits as well, and offered to help recruit and supply an important need for each of our meetings: FOOD.

Between the two of us we brainstormed and came up with some names and/or organizations that we thought would benefit from these meetings. Slowly, individuals in the area who held the roles of Operations Coordinator all the way up to Chief Operations Officer responded with a desire to hear more from other professionals doing operations work and how they helped their organizations run more efficiently.

We’ve now held several of these monthly meetings and our numbers keep growing! We’ve discussed a variety of topics such as how to pick an auditor, how to handle sensitive documents and best practices for storing documents in the cloud. I’ve learned so much and I find pleasure in knowing that there are other people in the Pittsburgh area who do what I do and have the same needs that I have. I am know thoroughly convinced that having the willingness to step out of your comfort zone any day can improve all of your tomorrows.

#Time’sUp for the Nonprofit Gender Gap

Join Top Nonprofits for a roundtable webinar about the future of women in nonprofits on Thursday, May 17 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We’ll discuss the challenges women face today and how each of us can create, support, and champion equity, access, and inclusion for all members of the nonprofit community, featuring the Bayer Center’s own Consultant and Researcher, Dr. Carrie Tancaitor.

Register online today! 


Remembering Darcy Tannehill

On April 21, The Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management lost a beloved board member and friend.  A long-time advocate for The Bayer Center since its inception, Darcy Tannehill was diagnosed in 2012 with light chain amyloidosis, a rare and incurable disease. She became a tireless advocate for amyloidosis research, chairing the Pittsburgh Amyloidosis Research Benefit in 2016 and joining the Amyloidosis Foundation Board of Directors in 2017.  We are so glad to have known her, and miss her terribly.

Obituary – Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Apr. 24

Darcy Tennehill, age 59, of South Fayette Twp., passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 21, 2018. Born on May 14, 1958, in Pittsburgh, PA, the daughter of the late Joseph Bartins and Ileane (Roy) Bartins-Yerman; beloved mother of Courtney Sullivan and Dr. Adam Sullivan; cherished Gigi of Alaina Sullivan. She leaves behind many friends and loved ones that she has inspired and held so dearly in her heart. Dr. Tannehill was also predeceased by her husband, Dr. Norman B. Tannehill, Jr.; her father-in-law, Dr. Norman B. Tannehill, Sr.; her mother-in-law, Maxine Hart Tannehill; and her stepfather, Joseph Yerman. Darcy fought courageously and passionately against amyloidosis, a disease with which she lived since diagnosis in April 2012, even though it had been a much longer fight. This passion led her to begin the annual Pittsburgh Amyloidosis Research Benefit in 2016 and recently create the Dr. Darcy B. Tannehill Amyloidosis Research and Education Fund through the Department of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine. Darcy was already planning the 3rd annual Pittsburgh Amyloidosis Research event that will still be held, now in her honor, on October 26, 2018. She was a board member of the national Amyloidosis Foundation and active in patient support throughout the Amyloidosis community. Her goal was to fight and see a cure for this horrific disease, but her legacy will live on through the education she’s provided others in not only early diagnosis, but in management and care. Darcy worked fulltime during her entire illness as an administrator and associate professor at Robert Morris University and taught online at many other institutions throughout the country. Darcy was also an avid animal rescuer and lover. She and her late husband, Norm, worked with the Northern Virginia Sheltie Rescue to rescue 12 shelties and give them the best lives possible. In addition to the dogs, Darcy dedicated a small portion of her yard for bird feeders and corn cobs for the birds, squirrels, and deer. Darcy graduated high school from West Allegheny High School, received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Duquesne University, and earned her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Northern Virginia Sheltie Rescue (http://www.nvsr.org), or to the national Amyloidosis Foundation (www.amyloidosis.org).

Grab some coffee and join the discussion with foundation heads, corporate partners and more!

Coffee and Conversation on Friday mornings in April at the Bayer Center
Learn how to ally with foundations, corporations, and the media, and how to crate a vibrant, inclusive workforce. Cost: $100 for all 4 sessions! ($40 à la cart)   Register today!
Meet just a few of our panelists:
Working with Our Foundation Allies  – Friday, April 6 from 9 – 11 a.m. – Register! 
Come reflect with a few of our region’s most thoughtful foundation leaders. Learn how they
help secure regional nonprofits by making every dollar count. Panelists: Laurel Randi, McCune Foundation; Karris Jackson, POISE Foundation; Cathy Lewis-Long, Sprout Fund

Working with Our Corporate Allies –  Friday, April 13 from 9 – 11 a.m. – Register! 
Let’s talk about the prospects for corporate volunteerism and how to make your nonprofit a likely recipient. Panelists: Vernee Smith, FedEx Ground; Ange Loiseau, Covestro

Working with Our Media Allies –  Friday, April 20 from 9 – 11 a.m. – Register! 
Join three Pittsburgh media writers and nonprofit allies as they discuss their role in telling a nonprofit’s story through different media channels to our region.  Panelists: Tracy Certo, NEXTpittsburgh; Joyce Gannon, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Terry O’Reily, WESA

Working with Unexpected Allies –  Friday, April 27 from 9 – 11 a.m. – Register! 
Learn from community leaders dedicated to seeing possibility and opportunity in working across differences including employees with disabilities, those who have been incarcerated, or those new to our country. We’ll explore how to best crate a vibrant, inclusive workforce.
Panelists: James Bennett, Easterseals Western and Central Pennsylvania; Nikki Heckman, Bistro To Go; Sarah Welch, Jewish Family & Children’s Service Career Development Center; Melanie Harrington, Vibrant Pittsburgh