News

The Ultimate Conundrum: The Nonprofit Executive's Salary

Wed, September 02, 2015 11:38 AM | Deanna Tharpe (Administrator)

By Deanna Tharpe, DSAIA Executive Director

You have staff...hey, you have an executive director or CEO.  Wonderful!  Are you compensating them competitively? Is another nonprofit eyeing your top level staff (or any of your staff) and saying..."Could we get them for our org?"  Worst nightmare, right? 

Or maybe you're working toward hiring staff (any staff) and wonder what is the best process for setting compensation. Is it enough to get good talent in the door but not so much that you'll lose the confidence of the community?

Many nonprofits are appropriately competitive - paying enough that they can hire the talent they need but not so much they risk violating the public trust. Trust me, I'm sure that the DS community is not overcompensating their hard-working employees. Nonprofit salaries rose steadily until the "Great Recession" (insert echo here) in 2008. And they started to rebound in 2010, at least among larger nonprofits. However, the nonprofit community certainly does NOT compete with for-profit positions of the same impact and complexity (and probably never will). That being said, we still need to know what other DSA's are paying their employees, what positions they have, whether they are full-time or part-time and how they weigh in under situations such as budget, number of members served, bonus/incentive pay, etc.

While DSAIA is working on some assistance with your compensation questions, you can assist US in that endeavor by completing our 2015 Compensation Survey online. Yes, EVEN if you don't have ANY employees, we still need you to complete your portion of the survey (which should take you about 2 minutes) so that we can have a complete data set on which to report.  And we will report! The sooner all of our groups complete the survey, the sooner that data can be collated, evaluated and released to our membership. 

So take a few moments today and complete the survey for us. (And look for the report and some great resources and training to come your way in the future!)


I want to tell you what WONDERFUL time I had at the conference. I learned so much and came away with lots of ideas for our organization. -Barb Waddle, The Upside of Downs of Northeast Ohio

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