About The Survey

Nonprofit Salary

New Human Resources Challenges for Northern Calfornia Nonprofits As the Current Recession Continues to Ease

Like nonprofits everywhere, Northern California nonprofit agencies need the information contained in a large and robust compensation and benefits survey. Unfortunately, national surveys are of little use, because they do not take local differences into account.

58% of the survey's participants see hiring challenges in the year ahead, as the recent recession continues to ease. They foresee increased competition from their colleagues and businesses to attract and retain the "best and brightest" employees. More than they have in recent years, they'll need the wealth of information produced by this large and robust survey compete effectively on this new playing field, including invaluable information about compensation, base pay, employee benefits, salary increases, personnel policies, as well as information about how their peers are dealing with the recession and data that larger nonprofits can use to justify to the IRS the compensation they pay their executive employees.

Northern California nonprofits will also need help in combating the related challenge of high employee turnover. In 2014, the Northern California survey reports a 17% turnover rate for full-time employees and 20% for part-time employees, up slightly from 14% and 19% respectively, in 2013. The wasted expenses for job recruitment and training caused by employee turnover reduce the amount of dollars a nonprofit can spend on much-needed direct services. High-quality data about compensation and benefits allow Northern California nonprofits to make decisions that can limit these expenses.

How This Survey Helps Northern California Nonprofits

The "best survey of its kind" helps nonprofits in Northern California

  • Set fair salaries and benefits to attract and retain the best employees
  • Evaluate industry standards for compensation for a range of positions
  • Budget and plan for the cost of adding new staff members
  • Analyze your own jobs and compensation
  • Stand up to the scrutiny of an increasingly skeptical public
  • Compare their salaries and benefits with others in their community, not with organizations totally out of their local economic market.

Regional vs. National Surveys

A high percentage of jobs that nonprofits fill are best compared with others in their own economic community, with benefits being compared similarly. National surveys, even when broken down into large regions ("the eastern seaboard", the "southeast", etc.), are almost worthless because they do not take local differences into account.

Regional compensation and benefits surveys provide the best information possible to their nonprofit participants because the comparisons are not with organizations hundreds of miles away, but agencies in their own community. Great examples include surveys in Southern California, Metro Seattle, Metro Chicago, New York City, Metro Kansas City, Metro Washington D.C., Southwest Pennsylvania, Central Florida and Southern Massachusetts and surrounding communities.

What Does the Survey Analyze?

191 positions are reported for the entire sample, with more details by:

  • Organization's annual expenses
  • Organization's location
  • Organization's field of service
  • Number of employees in the organization
  • Number of employees managed by person in position.

Specific data regarding incentive pay is also reported for each position, including eligibility for incentive pay and actual incentive pay given.

Benefits and other policies are reported as well:

  • Paid time off (vacation, sick time, holidays, other)
  • Insurance benefits
  • Retirement benefits
  • Policies regarding compensation and employment practices
  • Executive Director/CEO perquisites.

History of the Survey

The survey was initiated in 1978 by our late colleague, Barbara Schilling, at The Management Center in San Francisco. TMC published it annually until they went out of business in 2004. From 2004 to 2009, it was compiled by Rita Haronian, under contract with the Center for Nonprofit Management in Southern California (CNM). 2010 was the first year it was produced by Nonprofit Compensation Associates.

Compensation Study Press Coverage

Small Pay Increases Are Forecast for Northern Calif. Charities
"Nonprofit groups in Northern California are increasing their workers' pay, but the gains are modest and fewer groups expect to add workers than last year, according to a new report".
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, July 25, 2012

Sonoma Nonprofit Executive Directors Earn About $95,000 a Year
"The results of the 2012 "FairPay for Northern California Nonprofits Compensation and Benefits Survey" are in and things are looking up for the employees of our local nonprofits."
Dr. B.J. Bischoff, Nonprofit Matters, July 12, 2012

40% of Northern California Nonprofits Won't Offer Raises This Year
Among organizations that will increase salaries this year, pay will rise a median of 2 percent.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, June 30, 2011

Salary Freezes Grow More Common, Study of Northern California Charities Find
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, September 30, 2010

Nonprofit Executives' Pay Stalls as Bad Economy Lingers
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, October 4, 2010