Tuesday, March 26, 2013
A recent article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy uses the inequitable salaries of nonprofit employees as an example of “ economic bullying.” The article adopts the position that civil society accepts this sort of economic bullying and offers social exploitation as one the reasons. Interestingly, while the article suggests that the nonprofit world is a victim of social exploitation, it also suggests the nonprofit world is a victimizer.
The argument for the nonprofit world as victimizer is that it underpays women and human-service workers and relies heavily on unpaid volunteers for essential labor. The article goes on to suggest volunteerism in the nonprofit world presents problems because nonprofits have failed to articulate their value to society or what it costs to provide that value. Consequently, nonprofits are victimizers because they are guilty of engaging in the practice of paying people as little as possible.
To be fair to the nonprofit world, the article suggests the government plays a contributing role in social exploitation because as the major purchaser of social services, the government forces costs down to balance the budget. Still, given the characteristics of nonprofit and other exempt organizations, what alternatives are available to prevent from contributing to social exploitation?