More Women Headed Large Nonprofits According to New GuideStar Analysis

Release date: September 13, 2016

Female compensation still lagged behind that of male CEOs

2016 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation ReportWashington, DC—The proportion of women leading the nation’s largest nonprofits increased in fiscal year 2014, the latest edition of the GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report reveals. Released today, the report also shows that the gender pay gap persisted in FY 2014, and that compensation grew at a slower rate than before the Great Recession. 

“The nonprofit sector has moved toward greater gender equality in the past 10 years,” said Chuck McLean, senior research fellow at GuideStar and author of the 2016 Nonprofit Compensation Report. “More women headed nonprofits with budgets of $1 million or more. The difference was most dramatic at the largest nonprofits, where the proportion of female CEOs doubled, from 10 percent to 20 percent. Overall, however, female CEO representation still declined steadily as organization size increased. Women continue to represent the majority of CEOs at smaller organizations.”

Although the gender pay gap narrowed in some cases, compensation for female nonprofit executives continued to trail that of their male counterparts across the board. The gap was lowest, 8 percent, at the smallest organizations, and highest, 23 percent, at nonprofits with budgets of $25 million or greater.

In most cases, median compensation increases for incumbent CEOs were slightly higher in 2014 than in 2013 but still did not reach levels seen before the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2008, the median increase in compensation of incumbent CEOs in all budget groups was generally 4 percent or higher. In 2014, increases were below this level for the sixth consecutive year.

The GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report remains the only large-scale analysis of its kind based entirely on Form 990 data reported to the IRS, and the most comprehensive nonprofit compensation study available. This year’s edition, the 16th in GuideStar’s annual series, analyzes compensation paid to 135,512 persons at 96,242 tax-exempt organizations in fiscal year 2014. It presents data for 14 job categories by gender, organization size, mission, state, and metropolitan statistical area. The report meets IRS criteria for researching, establishing, and documenting reasonable compensation. Chuck McLean created the Nonprofit Compensation Report and has analyzed the data for and written all 16 editions.

To view sample pages from or purchase the 2016 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, visit

Members of the media may request a complimentary copy by emailing Jackie Enterline at jackie[dot]enterline[at]guidestar[dot]org.

About GuideStar

GuideStar,, is the world’s largest source of nonprofit information, connecting people and organizations with data on 2.4 million current and formerly IRS-recognized nonprofits. Each year, more than 7 million people, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media, use GuideStar data to make intelligent decisions about the social sector. GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles are populated with information directly from nonprofits, the IRS, and other partners in the nonprofit sector. In addition, users see GuideStar data on more than 200 philanthropic websites and applications. GuideStar is itself a 501(c)(3) public charity. 

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