Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Online Chat About Charity Executive Compensation with The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Earlier today, Ken Berger (Charity Navigator's president & CEO), David Samuels (partner at Duval & Stachenfeld LLP and former Deputy Chief of the NY Attorney General's Charities Bureau) and Noelle Barton (Manager of Special Projects at The Chronicle of Philanthropy) participated in an online discussion about executive pay at nonprofits. Among other issues, the conversation touched on executive perks, deferred compensation, the appropriateness of revenue sharing programs, bonuses, compensation committees and the difference between what is technically legal and what adheres to best practice when it comes to charity CEO pay.

Highlights from the conversation include:

  • I can't speak for the regulators, but in general, if someone is interested in your organization's operations, I would think it is generally in your best interest to explain what you can about executive pay packages. If there's a reason backing up a lump sum payment, why not include it in your public filing. It certainly helps out the observers and folks that track this data ... ~Noelle Barton
  • We heartily agree with Noelle. Groups like ours and others are scrutinizing the 990 information on behalf of the public. So regardless of the regulatory scrutiny and in the general interest of transparency and accountability, the report should be as thorough and detailed as possible. ~Ken Berger
  • I think we are going to see a continuing reluctance of many nonprofits to raise compensation going forward as much as in the past. Many are having financial difficulties... limiting their ability to raise pay. And of course charities are sensitive to the public perception that, during difficult times, it is prudent to hold the line on compensation. ~David Samuels
You can read the full transcript on the Chronicle's site.

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