I am woman, hear me roar in development offices everywhere

 “For the first time this year, we considered being male as part of diversity. That’s the point we’ve come to in advancement circles, which is very interesting.” Wow! To an old fundraising war-horse like me, this comment from the July/August issue of Case CURRENTS is a stunner.

Back  in 1984, when I wandered into fundraising, men out numbered women by ten to one in the field. Now I read that we gals are no longer the scrappy outsiders, fighting for a place at the all-boys table. Today we fill a majority of the seats – 70 percent, in fact, according to the Council for Advancement of Education (CASE). And that’s causing some folks to worry.

As one CASE official states:

We’ve been so focused on women in philanthropy—there are conferences and organizations targeted at just that. But what are we doing to advocate for men in our profession? How do we recruit and keep men in this profession? We have to do something, or we’re going to look around in 10 years and say, “Where did all the men go?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for gender balance in fundraising shops. But before we run willy-nilly after affirmative action of another hue, I’d like a few minutes to savor the tasty data tidbit from CASE. This new state of affairs has been a long time coming.

Interestingly, along with the rise of women as fundraisers, women have also come into their own as donors. A study conducted by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) notes that

in every income group from the lowest quintile ($23,509 or less) to the highest quintile (>$103,000), female-headed households were more likely to give to charity than male-headed households; (2) in every income group except for one, women gave more than men (almost twice as much); (3) when comparing females to males by single-status, women were more likely to give and give more than men—except for widowers who gave more than widows.

It appears there’s some affirmative action work to be done on the givers’ side of the advancement fence as well.

What's your take on this topic?

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