• Steven Hall & Partners

Pay for the Top Executive at Non-Profit Organizations - 2018 Study


The Internal Revenue Service mandates that non-profit organizations pay reasonable compensation and imposes stiff penalties for those who fail to comply.


Steven Hall & Partners analyzed top executive compensation data and related governance practices for 349 non-profit organizations across a variety of organization types that filed Form 990s with the Internal Revenue Service in fiscal 2016, the most recent year for which such data is available. The study looks at each organization’s top executive who may be the Executive Director or Chief Executive Officer, and who is not necessarily the highest paid.


Among the 349 organizations included in our study:

  • Revenue for the study group ranged from $0 to $77.4 million

  • Median revenue equaled $31.8 million

  • Median number of employees equaled 409

  • Median aggregate compensation paid to all employees equaled $15.7 million

  • Median total compensation to the top executive equaled $285,572 for fiscal 2016

  • Perquisites were provided and disclosed by 24% of organizations

  • Governance measures related to executive compensation were reported by 93% of organizations that reported on such measures

Compensation Findings

Median total compensation was $285,572 among top executives for fiscal 2016. 27% of the organizations studied paid a bonus for fiscal 2016, with the median amount among those paying bonuses being $37,970. The median value of All Other Compensation, which includes items such as health club fees, housing and tax gross ups, equaled $32,902.


By Organization Type

The highest total compensation was observed among Arts, Culture & Humanities organizations, which paid a median of $466,878. The lowest pay was observed among the Human Services sector, where median total compensation for the top executive was $218,177.


Download a PDF of the study here.

© 2020 by Steven Hall & Partners LLP.

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