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By September 13, 2017October 12th, 2017No Comments

A new nonprofit sector study indicates that CEO compensation increases approached pre-Great Recession level for the first time in six years in FY 2015. The GuideStar 2017 Nonprofit Compensation Report, released this week, is the 17th edition in the annual series.

The report also reveals that the nonprofit sector’s gap between male and female CEO compensation is not much better than other sectors.

“Compared to survey results published last year, the gender-based wage gap dropped from 8% to 7% at organizations with budgets of $250,000 or less. But for those organizations with far larger budgets, at the $50 million or greater level, the problem is much greater: Male CEOs still make 21% more, though that’s down from 23%. And groups with budgets between $10 and $25 million saw the compensation gap actually inch upward from 20% to 21%,” reported Ben Paytner in Fast Company.

The report analyzes compensation data reported to the IRS for fiscal year 2015 by 96,669 nonprofits with annual revenues of $200,000 or more. Organizations are instructed to supply compensation information for all officers, directors, trustees, and up to 20 key employees who earn at least $150,000. Additionally, information is required for certain other employees who earn at least $100,000. The 2017 report contains data on 135,986 individual positions. Incumbent compensation data, from which the change in compensation was calculated, was available for 85,400 positions at 65,161 nonprofits.

“In seven out of eight budget categories, nonprofit CEO compensation grew more in 2015 than in 2014,” stated GuideStar senior research fellow Chuck McLean, creator of the Compensation Report and author of all 17 editions. “Although median increases are still lower than observed before the recession, 2015 was the first year since 2008 in which we saw increases of 4% or more.”

In addition to changes in compensation, the 2017 report analyzes FY 2015 compensation by gender, mission type, state, and metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Other findings from the report include:

  • The proportion of female CEOs increased at nonprofits of all sizes again this year as it has every year since 2005. Gains were most dramatic at organizations with budgets between $25 million and $50 million, increasing from 20 percent to 30 percent.
  • Median compensation of female nonprofit CEOs lagged behind that of their male counterparts again this year as it has every year since 2005. The gap in FY 2015 ranged from 7 percent at organizations with budgets of $250 thousand or less to 21 percent at organizations with budgets of greater than $50 million.
  • Health and science organizations had the highest overall median salaries. Arts, religion, and animal-related organizations brought up the rear.

To learn more about the 2017 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, visit

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