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Non Profit Salaries - Understanding Non Profit Salaries

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Many people find rewarding careers in the non profit sector. Working at a non profit is a great fit for those who are sensitive to social needs and want to champion causes that they feel strongly about.

Although a job in the non profit sector is often rewarding, many people chose a corporate career instead due to concerns about low non profit salaries. It is true that in general, non profit salaries are lower than comparable for profit wages. However, it is important to take into account that there is a wide range of salaries in non profits. It is quite possible to live a very comfortable life while working in a rewarding non profit career.

To illustrate how widely salaries vary in nonprofits, consider two examples. An entry level social worker has an average salary of $30,000 per year. However, the CEO of a charity in New York City earns an average of $220,000 per year, according to Charity Navigator. While starting pay is often very low, non profit executives make salaries that are comparable to their corporate counterparts.

Non profits realize that they are unable to attract talent due to low salaries. Some organizations make up for low pay by providing excellent benefits that often extend to the employee’s family. Examples of benefits that you can find at some non profits include health benefits, retirement plans and extended vacation time.

How are non profit salaries determined? Non profit organizations treat wages very similarly to the for profit sector. The primary factors are experience, education, geography and size of the organization.

Experience is the primary factor in non profit salaries. The more years you have worked, the higher your salary will be. Bear in mind that some organizations will weigh related experience more heavily than experience that does not directly relate to the job that you are considering.

Education is a second factor that plays a big role in the wage calculation. Earning bachelors, masters or doctoral degrees will increase your earning potential within the industry. According to Idealist.org, someone with a master’s degree will earn $178 more per week than someone with just a bachelor’s degree.

The location of the organization is a third contribution factor to non profit salaries. Non profit salaries are higher for those workers who reside in major metropolitan areas such as the District of Colombia, San Francisco and New York City. However, the cost of living in these cities is higher as well, so the higher salary might not always offset the higher cost of living.

A final factor in salary is the size of the organization. Larger organizations tend to pay more than smaller organizations. This is because larger non profits have more funding that they can allocate to salaries. It is often small organizations that provide many fringe benefits in order to make up for low salaries. Be sure to negotiate extra vacation time, a flexible schedule or any other benefits that fit your needs if you choose to work at a smaller organization.

What should you do if you are considering a career in the non profit world? First, do not get discouraged by low non profit salaries. Do research on the organization and career path that you are choosing. Once you have moved past the interview stage, negotiate your wage and benefits so that you can live comfortably while working in a career you love. Remember that the more years you spend in the non profit sector, the more you will get paid.

Choosing a non profit career is not for those who seek a quick road to wealth, but many find that working in such a rewarding field is priceless.

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