Although we at LeaderFit are committed to pay equity and ensuring that equal work receives equal pay, the reality is that salaries and compensation at non-profit organizations range broadly. This is due to several reasons and reflect the differing and mixed motivations people have for working at non-profits organizations. Many employees choose to work at a particular non-profit due to its mission and purpose, and some are willing to volunteer, receiving nothing but thanks for their labors. Others may be re-entering the work force after stepping away or might be retiring from their initial career looking to share wisdom and expertise for a second act. These kinds of employees might not need or desire the same kind of compensation as others understanding that any resources not spent on personnel costs remain available for programs and services. Thus, there is no standard range for executive compensation.

The Benefits of Transparency.

At LeaderFit, we recommend a spirit of transparency regarding salaries within non-profit organizations. Non-profits of all kinds need to be accountable to funders regarding the use of the resources they receive. Since all nonprofits are required to file 990 forms which publish their salaries, NGOs have extra need to be transparent about compensation. Furthermore, having equitable and fair pay scales across an organization can contribute to a positive work environment ensuring employees don’t feel undervalued and underappreciated which in turn can impact employee happiness and retention.

However, while salaries should be equitable across an organization, there is also the reality that not all employees are the same. Thus, when recruiting a new hire, and posting a job description, LeaderFit recommends outlining a salary range on the job listing.  

The Salary Range.

The targeted salary, or the top end of the range, should be what the organization is able and willing to pay the ideal candidate meeting all the qualifications that the organization is looking for. However, posting a range, rather than a figure, provides an NGO the flexibility to modify the salary should the organization hire a candidate who does not possess all the desired qualifications or have all the hoped-for experiences. To avoid wasting the time of the both the hiring organization and candidates, it is important that the top-end of the range and the full benefits package be spelled out at the first interview so prospective candidates can know if this organization may or may not be a good financial fit for them.

Building an appropriate salary range.

There are several ways to research and identify a salary range for your organization. In building salary ranges, LeaderFit recommends looking at the salaries of comparable positions at similar organization in your area using:

  • 990 forms,
  • online resources like: GuideStar, Nonprofitwhite, the Nonprofit Times Salary survey, or
  • Conversations with peers at sister organizations.