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Highlights of the 2012 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report

2012CompReport-cover.pngThe 12th edition of our annual nonprofit compensation analysis has just been published. The report is based on 116,807 observations from 77,449 Forms 990 filed with the IRS by 501(c) organizations for fiscal year 2010. Among the highlights:

  • Median compensation of females continued to lag behind that of males when considering comparable positions at similar organizations. The gap ranged from 10.4 percent for CEOs at organizations with budgets of $250 thousand-$500 thousand to 24.8 percent at organizations with budgets of more than $50 million. Since 2000, though, these gaps have narrowed for most sizes of organizations. The notable exception is organizations in the $1 million-$10 million range, where the gap has actually increased.
  • Since 2000, the percentage of female CEOs has increased for organizations of all sizes. The majority of organizations with budgets of $1 million or less have women as CEOs, although female representation in that role declines as budget size increases. Only 17 percent of organizations with budgets of more than $50 million have female CEOs.
  • The economy had a definite effect on compensation. In 2008, median increases in incumbent CEO compensation were generally 4 percent or higher. In 2010, increases were below this level for the second consecutive year.
  • As usual, health and science organizations had the highest overall median salaries. Food, religion, and animal-related organizations brought up the rear.
  • For the seventh straight year, Washington, D.C., had the highest overall median salary of the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA). Denver-Boulder, Colo., had the lowest. Adjusted for cost of living, New York was the MSA where nonprofit executives had the lowest median buying power, whereas those in St. Louis had the highest.

The 2012 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report remains the only large-scale nonprofit compensation analysis derived entirely from IRS data. It includes information reported to the IRS by most 501(c) organizations that filed an FY 2010 return and had incomes of $1 million or greater—the entire 501(c) universe. The report slices and dices this information several ways to make it easier for each customer to find the data he or she wants:

  • 14 job categories
  • Budget size
  • Gender
  • NTEE (National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities) code
  • State
  • MSA
  • Incumbent compensation increases

An executive summary shows trends for FY 2010 and 2001-2010 at a glance.

The report is available as a PDF download or on CD and for single use or for 2-25 users.


Chas. E. McLean and Suz. E. Coffman, GuideStar USA
© 2012, GuideStar USA, Inc.

Chuck McLean is GuideStar's vice president, research. He created the GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report and has produced all 12 editions. Suzanne Coffman is GuideStar's editorial director and editor of the GuideStar Newsletter.

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