Thursday, August 19, 2010

How Much Do Charity Leaders Make?

With over 3 million donors consulting our charity ratings each year, we get a lot of feedback and questions about charity CEO pay. Potential donors want to know what is appropriate and what is excessive. Here’s a sampling of what some of you have said on the topic of CEO pay, via the comment portion of our site, just in the last couple of weeks:
  • “…it is just as important to check what an organization DOES for the troops as it is to count CEO salary dollars.” ~ about Fisher House Foundation
  • “President Obama's salary is $400k. If the CEO needs to earn $380k, let him work in private industry or run for President.” ~ about International Rescue Committee
  • “No matter how big the organization, non-profit CEOs should not (expect to) be compensated with a high six-figure package. If a CEO thinks she can make more money in the private sector then DO IT. But that is no justification for compensatory excess in the non-profit world! “~ about March of Dimes
  • “I give to UNICEF because of the track record of extraordinary accomplishments, and because UNICEF is already on the ground in more than 150 nations. I used a business model as part of my decision for giving--for each $100 I give, $91.80 goes to programs and about $.08 goes to the CEO. “~ about United States Fund for UNICEF
  • “I don't have a problem with CEOs being properly compensated for efficient management of a charity. However, I don't feel that CEO of IMC could be that much more effective at her job than Nicolas De Torrente, CEO of Doctors without Borders, with his salary $118,900 (or 0.07% of charity's expenses). “~ about International Medical Corps
  • “One of my chief concerns is the compensation of staff, especially CEO's. I won't give a cent to an organization whose CEO pulls in more than $90,000/yr. I understand organizations need competent, experienced people, but I can't afford to fund those salaries--especially when there are other excellent animal rights organizations out there using far more of my money AT LEAST as effectively. “~ about Defenders of Wildlife
  • “The people complaining about too high a salary are just plain wrong. Administering over $200 Million a year is not a simple nor a routine job. You get what you pay for. I want someone with good business skills at the top, and that requires a competitive salary. “~ about Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

So, for those of you who are looking for some assistance in evaluating CEO pay, we’ve released our 2010 CEO Compensation Study. It shows that the median pay for charity leaders is roughly $150,000. The full report includes details on how pay varies by location, charitable mission and organizational size along. The end of the report offers tips for evaluating your favorite charity’s compensation practices. And for more insight on CEO pay at nonprofits, check out our president & CEO’s blog.

Image provided by Shutterstock.com.

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