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Error Discovered in 2013 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report

The following is a message from GuideStar's Vice President of Research, Chuck McLean.

On Friday afternoon, a purchaser of the 2013 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report noticed a mistake that I had made in compiling the report. Where there should have been National “Incumbent Compensation Increases by NTEE Centile Group and Budget Size,” I repeated the section National “Compensation by NTEE Centile Group and Budget Size.” We would like to thank the purchaser for both finding and reporting this error. If you purchased the report, please contact products@guidestar.org in order to receive a corrected copy. You can also find an updated copy at www.guidestar.org/compensation.

I would also like to express my gratitude for working at an organization where I not only feel safe about reporting a mistake I have made, but feel an obligation to do so, with the certainty that we will do the right thing to fix it. Granted, my mistake was a little less complicated and life-threatening than GM’s faulty ignition switch scandal, but how much better off would GM be if the person who first discovered that problem had felt that the corporate culture at GM would be conducive to moving openly and quickly to fix the problem? Colin Powell said “Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.” If we expect true transparency in our sector, we need to expect mistakes reporting right alongside our outcomes reporting.

Indeed, GuideStar has specifically focused a portion of its quarterly Impact Calls on just this – the lessons we learned in the previous time period. We receive a lot of feedback on each of our Impact Calls, and by far the area about which we hear the most appreciation is this section. I encourage you to give some thought today to whether or not your corporate culture encourages the speedy disclosure of bad news and mistakes.

I’d like to hear from you. Do you feel comfortable admitting – and fixing – mistakes at your nonprofit? Why or why not?

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