Urgent Action Fund Increases Salary Levels to Further Pay Equity
When female and transgender activists face serious threats, Urgent Action Fund (UAF) intervenes quickly to help intercept possible dangers to their lives and work. This feminist fund protects, strengthens, and sustains women and transgender human rights defenders at critical moments. Given the demanding nature of its work, UAF wanted to ensure fair and competitive compensation across the organization.
Challenge: UAF wanted to improve its pay equity and pay practices
Nonprofits often face the dual challenge of keeping administrative costs low while hiring and retaining strong talent. UAF informally estimated that its salaries were competitive and equitable based on salary survey data. When Edgility conducted a compensation analysis, it found UAF was paying above market, but not as high as it had assumed. UAF asked Edgility to help it benchmark salaries and formalize its pay structure, as well as correct the pay inequities that Edgility’s analysis revealed.
UAF also needed a formal performance management system to help determine if staff bias was impacting hiring and career advancement decisions. Its existing system included a simple form that staff used inconsistently and didn’t generate internal buy-in for how performance impacted compensation.
Solution: UAF and Edgility revamped the salary structure and performance management system
In a thorough needs assessment and compensation study, Edgility took a closer look at the organization’s overall structure, compared UAF’s salaries to similar nonprofits, and inventoried staff benefits. Based on its findings. Edgility made recommendations, beginning with raising staff salaries .
Edgility met with key UAF staff and Board members to discuss the importance of paying up to the 75th percentile to remain fair and equitable. Edgility emphasized that inequities in the marketplace have led service- and social justice-focused roles to be undervalued—roles that have traditionally been filled by women. By adopting market rates, UAF would be internalizing those existing inequities. By paying at the 75th percentile, UAF would be equitably valuing their own staff and putting upward pressure on wages in the marketplace.
Results: Board approved higher pay while equitable performance management work continues
The Board approved Edgility’s proposal to increase UAF salaries, allowing it to reward its employees for their important work and serve as a leader in their field. Edgility is currently helping UAF unpack its beliefs surrounding the value of urgency given their work focuses on responding to those in immediate crisis and the dominant workplace norms around urgency are driven by a white privilege culture. Through these conversations, Edgility aims to help UAF develop a new set of performance management guidelines that will be incorporated into management trainings and used to develop a data-driven system that reduces bias.
“Our work often requires rapid responses due to the nature of helping activists who are at risk. We’re grateful to Edgility for helping us slow down and take a step back to assess the health of our organization from a salary, equity, and performance perspective. It’s important that we reward our employees for their brave work, and we look forward to continuing to partner with Edgility to develop and improve our internal systems,” says Danielle Pointdujour, Human Resources Officer of Urgent Action Fund.