compensation

Research Friday: Controversial Nonprofit Compensation: Are We Missing the Point?

posted by
Angela Francis
,
Senior Associate
Nonprofit Finance Fund

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing series, we invite a nonprofit scholar, student, or professional to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

We often talk about nonprofit executive compensation in skeptical terms: how much is too much? While no one supports wasteful public spending or abuse of power, the cases that grab headlines and provoke legislation are actually far from the norm. At Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), what we see far more often is staff turnover due to burnout and low pay. We routinely work with nonprofits that are struggling to determine if it’s financially possible to make a much-needed new hire, even on a part-time or contractor basis. This week’s installment of Research Friday will examine a range of new data from the field about our sector’s human resources—often, our most powerful but undervalued form of capital.

Research Friday: The Trouble with Pay Raises


Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit scholar or practitioner to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

postedby
Stephanie La Loggia, M.A.

Manager of Knowledge Resources, Research and Academic Affairs,
ASU Lodestar Center


The research on how compensation systems affect employee motivation is both fascinating and surprising. The evidence flies in the face of some underlying, pervasive assumptions: namely, that people work primarily for money and that the best incentives to keep people motivated and productive are financial.1

It turns out that most people do their best work when they are motivated by something other than money. Things like purpose, achievement, recognition, and autonomy—to name a few. In fact, you can often muck it up—de-motivate people!—by directly tying financial incentives to their work. I can’t believe I’m about to back up this claim with a YouTube video, but here it is: Daniel Pink talking about the severe limitations of financial incentives and what really motivates people to do great work.

Research Friday: "Executive Compensation"

postedby
Stephanie La Loggia, M.A.

Manager of Knowledge Resources
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Oh, the high-wire balancing act of nonprofit CEO compensation. Pay your CEO too little, and you won’t attract a skilled leader. Pay too much, and you’ll raise the eyebrows (or ire) of donors, clients, volunteers, and anyone else who looks up your 990 in one keystroke. And should a nonprofit really go over the top with CEO pay, the IRS will come knocking at the door.

What’s an impact-driven nonprofit organization to do? Two things come to mind. First, consult the research and data available on nonprofit CEO compensation. Comparable compensation data helps recruitment and hiring, and protects against excessive compensation claims. For nonprofits in Maricopa and Pima counties, the latest issue of Nonprofit Research Abridged details CEO compensation across budget size and type.