Money & Business

Report: Nonprofits Increasingly Challenged to Compete on Salary

By / Mar 23, 2015 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Job opportunities at nonprofits are growing, but the pay often isn’t enough to bring in new recruits, according to a new report.

Nonprofits may be expanding their staffs rapidly, but their relatively low pay remains an obstacle to attracting fresh talent. A recent salary survey and job reports from recruiting firm Professionals for Nonprofits show that last year, many nonprofits struggled to bring in new recruits because they thought the pay was too low.

Nonprofits in the New York City and Washington, DC, areas in particular are experiencing growth, and even slight pay increases, as they try to keep up with corporations. The recruiting firm notes that 20 percent of New York-based groups and 23 percent of Washington-based nonprofits bumped up their salaries by more than 3 percent in 2014, with numbers projected to inch even higher in 2015.

Even so, these organizations must overcome deep-rooted challenges to stand out in the eyes of potential candidates.

“In order for a nonprofit to compete in the marketplace now for talent, they need to be able to see what similar organizations are doing, and they need to be able to keep up with that,” Gayle Brandel, president of Professionals for Nonprofits, told The Chronicle of Philanthropy. “They really need to step up and take a look at their salaries, take a look at their performance rewards.”

And as more baby boomers retire, these organizations must also find innovative ways to appeal to and retain a younger workforce. Thus far, whatever nonprofits are doing  appears to be working—more than two-thirds of the surveyed organizations reported that at least 50 percent of their employees are under age 32—but more could be done to ensure that pace keeps up.

“The new generation of candidates out there are younger and they may have different interests and need different environments,” Robert Duvall, Professionals for Nonprofits’ manager of special products, told the Chronicle. “All of that is stuff that has to be addressed by those leaders in the sector that are growing.”

While nonprofits offer younger candidates the opportunity to improve their world or region, the research suggests that’s not enough to land the best candidates. Nonprofits know they must increase salaries to compete, and many plan to continue doing so this year.

Julia Haskins

Julia Haskins is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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