Figuring out your value as an arts manager is difficult in a field where budgets vary almost as much as the process boards use to determine compensation policies. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be such a dark and scary place. To that end, here are some resources you can use to help shed some light on this topic.
For executive level openings, you can gather a considerable amount of information by examining an organization’s IRS Form 990 filings. Each nonprofit must provide a public inspection copy of their 990 upon request but let’s get realistic, you aren’t going to look great as a potential candidate by asking for that sort of documentation right out of the gate. Instead, head over to Guidestar.org and create a free account which will let you access the three most recent 90 filings for any nonprofit in their database (it’s pretty big).
Pro Researcher Tip: You want to look for Part VII – Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees, Highest Compensated Employees, and Independent Contractors. This will provide you with most executive level employees earning $100,000 or more and in many cases, nonprofits list employees below that threshold as well. You should always take the time to read through all of the information but another section to keep an eye out for is Schedule J, Part III (which lists expanded compensation info on individuals listed in Part VII). Lastly, be sure to check out the sections toward the end with supplemental info, you can sometimes uncover some useful info about executive perks.
Another source, albeit less reliable and may require a membership, is a state based nonprofit association. The National Council of Nonprofits maintains a database of such agencies you can use to help track down info you’re after.
Glassdoor is a nice option for those looking at entry and mid-career level positions. Keep in mind, however, their data is drawn directly from user input so there’s the whole grain of salt thing but it is certainly better than nothing. Nonprofit info can be hit and miss but on the bright side, initial poking around is free of charge while continued use and reaching into archived data will require a paid account.
Now that we have that out of the way, each June features a week-long series of articles that examine the compensation trends among orchestra executives, music directors, and concertmasters at more than 65 professional U.S. orchestras.
It’s 100 percent free and there are no upsells, registrations, etc. If you’re looking for an executive level position in the orchestra field, this is likely a resource you’ll want to bookmark. The Orchestra Compensation Reports have been published each year since 2005 and you’ll find some archived data but only the most recent year’s results are available in full.
A number of providers offer some sort of pay-wall or custom compensation reporting service. Before you shell out any money, be sure to acknowledge that these resources as entirely caveat emptor and many harvest data directly (and exclusively) from IRS 990s (which you now know those are free).
One option is The Economic Research Institute, which maintains a dedicated nonprofit compensation data service.
The Nonprofit Times provides a salary report drawn from volunteer entered data.
Are there any additional resources you use? If so, stop holding out you greedy bastard!
No, in all seriousness, share the wealth and post something about it in the comments.