Results from 2012 Nonprofit Compensation & Benefits Study now available

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It’s all about the money. Or is it?

If you work for a nonprofit in Toronto or Ottawa, you’re earning, on average, a higher salary than people working in the rest of Canada. If your organization is affiliated, like a Boys and Girls Club or United Way, you also likely earn more than your colleagues working in stand-alone shops. If you’re a man, you’re more likely to work in a larger organization, and therefore benefit from a higher average salary than men and women who work in smaller organizations.

These are just a few of the findings from CharityVillage’s second annual Canadian Nonprofit Sector Compensation & Benefits Study, which is now available for purchase online.

Participation in this year’s study increased by 17% over last year, with 1,398 organizations providing compensation data (including salary, bonus, benefits and other perks) for more than 15,000 individual nonprofit employees across the country. Here are a few highlights:

Overall cash compensation growth is slow and steady

Average compensation growth for the past year sat at or just below the rate of inflation, ranging from 1 to 2.2% depending on staff level, with more senior positions earning slightly more than their entry-level colleagues. This isn’t surprising, given the current economic climate, and the trend is expected to continue, with survey participants predicting similar levels of compensation growth over the next twelve months.

Bigger city = bigger paycheque

The study found that average compensation tends to increase with the size of the community in which employees work. The highest average compensation regions continue to be the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa, while participants in the rest of Ontario reported lower average salaries at most staff levels than in all other regions in Canada. While recognizing that organization size also plays a factor in determining salary, the average annual salary for a chief executive in British Columbia was $83,044, compared to $96,676 for the Greater Toronto Area.

High-paying nonprofits share certain characteristics

With some exceptions, the highest-paying Canadian nonprofits are organizations that do not classify themselves as charities. They are often national in scope and are large both in terms of revenue and the number of employees (although employees at the lower staff levels of large organizations do not benefit to the same extent as those in management).

For the most part, the top-paying organizations are not unionized. They are also more likely to be affiliated organizations (organizations that operate under the same umbrella name or brand but are run as separate nonprofit organizations).

The glass ceiling still exists in the nonprofit sector — or does it?

At first glance, the results would suggest that men continue to earn more on average than women at most staff levels, aside from management/supervisory staff and support staff. However, deeper analysis shows the gender gap is a function of the size of organization: men are more likely to work in bigger organizations, which typically pay both men and women better.

Age and other experience continue to play a role

Salaries grow most rapidly during the early stages of employees’ careers before levelling out near retirement. Higher education and certifications also translate to higher compensation. Other experience factors, such as discipline-specific experience, experience in the sector, seniority and time spent in current role are also directly tied to compensation.

Performance incentive plans continue to be the exception

Just 7% of respondents reported that their organization provides a formal performance incentive plan, which is unchanged from 2011. Formal incentive plans continue to be most prevalent at the management levels. Organizational performance is used most heavily to measure performance among Chief Executives and senior executives. In contrast, individual performance measures are common to all staff levels.

Learn more about the Study and how to purchase a copy of the full report.

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