Monday, November 09, 2009

Psychic benefits? Women's work? Any excuse.

Someone said to me this morning, men won't take jobs in human services because they can't support their families. The women have spouses or partners, so it's ok to pay so little.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

To many woman working in nonprofits are single family households and are one or two paychecks away from homelessness themselves. They frequently work two, sometimes three jobs.

They are dedicated people who have spent as many dollars and years on their degrees.

They deserve better.

in reference to:

"In 2003 BusinessWeek surveyed the compensation packages of MBAs 10 years out of b-school. The median compensation package with bonus was $400,000. By contrast, the average 2004 salary of the CEO of a $5 million-plus health charity was $232,000 and of a hunger charity, $84,000. There's no way you're going to get people with a $400,000 annual pay package to take a $316,000 annual pay cut on the basis of the psychic benefits that await them. Instead, consider the enormous psychic benefits that people in the for-profit world enjoy as philanthropists. Think about this: It's cheaper for the MBA to donate $100,000 a year to the hunger charity than to go work for it. She gets $50,000 in federal and state tax savings, which leaves her $266,000 ahead of the game. On top of that, she gets a seat on the board of the hunger charity; indeed, probably chairs the board. She now gets to supervise the poor bastard who's running the hunger charity. She gets to dictate his strategy and how he goes about executing it. And if that weren't enough, the MBA is now elevated to the status of respected philanthropist in the community (while the hunger charity CEO gets demonized at the annual board meeting for wanting a $10,000 salary increase — "shame on you, that money could be going to the needy," they tell him). And, with a $100,000 annual contribution to the hunger charity, at some point the "philanthropist" gets her name on the top of the charity's headquarters. And maybe she loves her for-profit job on top it. Sounds like an awful lot of psychic benefit to me. Don't fall for this Puritan self-sacrificial psychobabble. It's not the poor who are asking you to work for less. It's the donating public, including many a wealthy donor. They're asking you to end poverty and every other great social problem and to do it for them at a discount. And they're exploiting the images of the poor to get you to agree. The fact that someone makes a one-time sacrificial gift doesn't mean you're obligated to make a lifetime sacrificial career choice. If you do the math and the psychic benefit comes up lacking for you, then ask the people who want you to make the world a better place for another kind of benefit that begins with a "p." Pay."
- The "Psychic Benefits" of Nonprofit Work Are Overrated - Dan Pallotta - HarvardBusiness.org (view on Google Sidewiki)

1 comment:

Candy Gonzalez said...

Hey Ruth,
This subject is so frustrating to me. Why do people think that just because we are working for a charitable organization we should take "charity" as our pay? We all work hard, probably harder than most people to make a difference, yet it's never recognized that way. Realizing that non profit organizations enjoy government contracts and that tax revenues are set aside to provide those contracts, why is it that its always at it's barest minimum? there's never enough money to get the organization afloat or pay the proper salaries to talented employees. What gets me sometimes is that city workers also enjoy their salaries from tax payers money, yet they are paid fairly well, get overtime, don't have to worry or beg for donations, don't have to worry that if we don't have a successful fundraising year the doors of their employment may close. I'm not saying that they should, I'm just saying that no one should and that non-profits shouldn't be looked at as the city's "second class citizen" but a viable entity that address the social "ills" and problems in our society. And for goodness sake, make it all equitable so that we can even do a better job, spend more time in our programs, instead of spending valuable time begging for a dollar! Just saying....Candace