Growth slows in nonprofit CEO pay

Robert Ottenhoff
Robert Ottenhoff

PJ staff report

The recession has taken a toll on nonprofit compensation, with median increases for CEOs growing at a slower pace, a new report says.

The 2011 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report also finds a continuing gap in median compensation between male and female CEOs, although the gap has narrowed since 1999 for most nonprofits, and the percentage of female CEOs has increased for nonprofits of all sizes.

Based on GuideStar’s database of digitized information from Form 990s for fiscal 2009 that roughly 88,000 nonprofits filed with the IRS, the report says median increases for compensation for incumbent CEOs generally grew 2 percent or less in 2009, compared to 4 percent or more in 2008.

“It’s not surprising, even if it is disappointing, that this down economy has taken its toll on the compensation of our sector’s leaders,” Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar, says in a statement

Median compensation for women continues to trail that of men for comparable positions at similar organizations, the report says.

That gap ranges from 13.4 percent for CEOs at organizations with budgets of $250,000 to $500,000, to 24.6 percent at organizations with budgets over $50 million.

That gap has narrowed for organizations of most sizes except those with budgets of $1 million to $5 million, where the gap has grown.

At organizations with budgets ranging from $1 million to $2.5 million, for example, the gap grew to 22 percent in 2009 from 16 percent in 1999.

And over that 10-year period, annualized changes in median salary generally were higher for women, other than at organizations with budgets of $1 million to $5 million.

Health and science organizations had the highest overall median salaries, while food, religion and youth-development organizations had the lowest.

For the sixth straight year, Washington, D.C., had the highest overall median salaries among the 20 largest metropolitan areas, while the Riverside-San Bernadino metro region of California had the lowest.

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