New Research Into Nonprofit Staff Compensation


By: Drew McManus

In: Catch All

There’s an excellent article in the 6/12/2019 edition of by Ben Paynter that examines two recent studies on nonprofit staff compensation. Spoiler alert: both studies uncovered ample evidence that compensation is a strong pain point among most employees.

We conducted our own bit of reader research back in 2016 on how and why arts admins change jobs and sure enough, compensation was tied for the most common reason.

How And Why Arts Managers Change Jobs

But one metric that has consistently eluded the field is the rate of change between staff and executive pay levels. Unlike executive compensation, most staffers and middle managers earn far below required reporting levels by the IRS and I have yet to see any of the major service organizations track this data or make it publicly available.

If that weren’t enough, look at the number of likes and replies generated by two recent tweets from the always sharp @ArtsAdminSay Twitter account, both of which focused on compensation topics.

This field loves to talk about sustainable business models, but how much worse does this situation need to become before it can get better?

Drew McManus
Drew McManus
In addition to my consulting business, I'm also the Principal of Venture Industries Online but don’t let that title fool you into thinking I'm just a tech geek. I bring 20+ years of global broad-based arts consulting experience to the table to help clients break the cycle of choosing one-size-fits-none solutions and instead, deliver options allowing them to get ahead of the tech curve instead of trying to catch up by going slower. With the vision of legacy support strategy and the delights of creative insights, my mission is to deliver a sophisticated next generation technology designed especially for the field of performing arts. The first step in that journey began in 2010 when The Venture Platform was released, a purpose-designed managed website development solution designed especially for arts organizations and artists. For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, lead a team of intrepid arts pros to hack the arts, lead an arts business incubator, and love a good coffee drink.
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