The Automatic Nonprofit Salary Calculator

Jon Pratt of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits uses a tongue-in-cheek version of the familiar Salary Calculator model to comment trenchantly on the indiscriminate -- and not so indiscriminate -differences in how nonprofit staff get paid:

How much should you be paid for your nonprofit job?

What . . . you want to get PAID? You mean an actual salary, not just a stipend, and for a nonprofit job that is not solely volunteer? Don't forget to factor in all of the psychic income you get knowing you are making the world a better place! After all, you are doing the Lord's work, so your reward may not be in this life but in the next. Plus, there is the prestige and halo effect - that has to be worth something!

Even after taking these not inconsiderable intrinsic rewards into account, you might still wonder whether you are getting paid the right amount of actual money (probably not) or whether one of your co-workers is getting paid the right amount (probably too much). The following fourteen data points provide a "scientific" formula (created by someone with two advanced degrees, neither of them in a scientific field) that you can use to check your salary against cruel reality:

1. Start by entering your organization's total budget here: ____________
Then enter the the number of full time equivalent employees here:________
Then divide the budget by the number of FTE, write in here: __________
Then divide by 2 = ____________ Use this number as a base then change according to your answers to the questions below.

[Example: if your organization has a $1 million dollar budget and 25 FTEs, then divide $1,000,000 by 25 = $40,000. Divide that by 2 and you get the starting number of $20,000.]

Congratulations! You have properly calculated your appropriate salary. Now get back to work. :)

See also in Blue Avocado:

Jon Pratt is executive director of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, which publishes a sensible Salary and Benefits Survey. He submitted the photo at the left, claiming that he was the model for the statue.

Although he has a degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard and is a male CEO, he swears that his organization has never paid a compensation consultant $20,000 for a "Top Hat Plan." (But if you need one, he might know someone who could fix you up . . . .)

Comments (10)

  • Very dry and on point, as usual

    Dec 06, 2011
  • Anonymous

    Love it! Thanks for the humorous (and not-too-far-off-base) scales!

    Dec 06, 2011
  • Anonymous

    Dig the psychic income...and of course the photo.

    Dec 06, 2011
  • You forgot geographic. Add ten points if you're on the coasts, five points if you're in a midwestern city and minus five if you are in a rural area.

    Dec 06, 2011
  • Anonymous

    It's calling it names to say it's a budget, but if we put that at $25,000 per year, divide by number of FTE employees (0) . . . . I guess I should receive infinite compensation! A VERY small museum :)

    Dec 12, 2011
  • Anonymous

    why would someone earn more or less % points for gender?

    Dec 13, 2011
  • Anonymous

    gender makes sense. women make much less. transgender folks make way, way less (not in between).

    Dec 13, 2011
  • Anonymous

    As always, Jon, awesome insight and irreverent humor! You forgot to add a section for "Turn-around of a near-death nonprofit."

    Feb 12, 2013
  • Anonymous

    I used the calculator and it was accurate within a few hundred dollars!

    Feb 15, 2013
  • I am researching compensation for Animal Welfare groups......both salaries and hourly rates. Will your calculator provide that type of information? Thanks. Gigi G.

    Oct 09, 2013

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