2016 Nonprofit Salary Survey report released

By Bryan Orander, president, Charitable Advisors

Next week is Labor Day when the focus is on jobs.

As the U.S. recovers from the recession of the previous decade, the labor market has tightened. Amid whispers that the country is moving towards statistically full employment, many employers are reverting to a basic method of recruiting and retaining workers: higher pay. The positions are out there, and employers are upping the ante to get people to fill them.

Citing statistics from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s wage tracker, Bloomberg reported that as of May, the median U.S. worker enjoyed a 3.5 percent wage increase from the same period last year. The figure is the highest year-over-year number since 2009.

How is this playing out in the local nonprofit sector? We have some insights.

Every other year since 2010, Charitable Advisors has recruited sponsorship from local businesses to assemble and publish the nonprofit salary survey report.

More than 240 area nonprofits participated in this year’s survey in April. The survey solicits compensation and benefits information for 20 common nonprofit positions and then segments the information based on organizational size – by either annual budget or number of staff.

In 2016, sponsorship support was provided by VonLehman CPA, First Person Benefit Advisors, The National Bank of Indianapolis and Financial Technologies and Management. There is a link to download the 2016 report at the end of this article.

What can we learn from the salary survey?

I have three quick insights that may resonate with readers, based on my daily conversations with nonprofit leaders and an initial review of this latest salary survey:

  • Average salary increases appear constant around 3 percent: Since we climbed out of the 2007-2009 recession, the Charitable Advisors’ salary surveys have shown the most common average salary increases for Central Indiana nonprofits continue in the 3 percent range.

Food for thought: How has your organization adjusted its compensation since the recession? Are you able to increase raises in addition to keeping up with rising health insurance costs? Do staff members appreciate the value of their total compensation package?

  • Harder to hire: For the first time this year, we asked survey respondents whether they were having problems filling staff positions. More than 60 percent of respondents noted difficulty in hiring one or more roles. The most common frustrations were finding personnel for direct service/program positions, licensed therapists and fund development staff. Anecdotally, all are roles that are increasing in the sector to meet client needs or grow resources to meet client needs.

Food for thought: What positions are you finding difficult to recruit? What adjustments are you making to attract and retain staff in key roles? Will a 3 percent average increase keep you competitive in the nonprofit marketplace? Is it competitive in the overall Central Indiana marketplace?

  • People issues now in top three: Over the past few years, people issues have moved from a “Top 10” issue to a “Top 3” issue with almost every nonprofit we encounter. I see organizations putting increased focus and investing resources on staff and volunteer recruiting, retention, training and development, first-line supervisory training, developing positive cultures and being great places to work.

Food for thought: What adjustments are you making to create a positive work environment? How are you equipping your supervisors and managers to engage and motivate staff? How is the growth in millennial staff and retirement of boomers changing the way you work? How are you preparing for the upcoming retirement of boomers in their late 50s and 60s?

Recommendations from the field

How many times have you picked up a report with good intentions? You’ll study it tomorrow or review its lessons at a later time. Here are some suggestions from local leaders about the ways they have utilized past Salary Survey data.

As a budgeting tool

  • Jennifer Tiplick, the Humane Society of Indianapolis chief financial officer, will use it as a tool for next year’s budgets.
  • Beth Gehlahusen, Meals on Wheels of Hamilton County executive director, said it is the best way to see where her organization falls in the market.

“It is helpful to our board of directors to see the ‘big picture’ and then to be able to relate it to our organization.  The release time is very helpful for 2017 budgeting.”

As a board tool

  • Laura Dodds, executive director, TechPoint Foundation for Youth, said her board wants to compare her salary with others of like sizes.

“I just had my annual review and the board would like to know if my salary is comparable to organizations of my size in this area.”

As a human resources tool

  • Lori Clyne, the human resources director at Families First, seeks multiple sources of salary information for comparison, noting Guidestar.org and their national association as helpful. “It’s more relevant data than what I’ve found from other sources.”

Watch for additional insights as we continue to learn from the survey data.

Thanks to our sponsors, you can download the 2016 Nonprofit Salary Survey Report at no charge here.

You will be asked to answer a couple questions to help us understand how the report is being reviewed and used by your organization and by individuals.




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