Research | Comprehensive guide to nonprofit salaries

publication date: May 22, 2019
author/source: Philip Manzano based on Glassdoor and PayScale and sponsored by Keela

It’s important to start looking at the things that matter most to the organization which includes treating your employees with sustainability in mind. That includes a competitive salary. We know that landing on an acceptable salary range is difficult, especially with the limited resources we have in the sector.

But the best place to start is by looking at what others in the same market are paying. This will give you a good idea of the range to start playing around with. We decided to find the answer to one question: How much do nonprofit staff make in Canada and the US?

This is of particular interest to us, because we are in the business of building nonprofit capacity. So we will be tracking this information year over year, to present you with ongoing findings and trends.

How much does nonprofit staff get paid?

For the answer, we looked to publicly sourced data from Payscale. Here, we found 29,164 respondents from various sets of data who responded with salary inquiries for various positions within the nonprofit sector. We decided to look at a few of the most popular positions:

• Program Coordinator

• Program Manager

• Fund Development Manager

• Executive Director


We looked specifically at the median salary, without looking at bonuses or any extra income (as these varied quite a bit). And then we looked specifically at Canada and US in CAD and USD, respectively.

Here is the data and some of the interesting findings:

What career paths exist in the non- profit sector?

The exact same study took a look at some of the most popular job paths and progressions within the nonprofit sector. As we can see in the visual below, the paths are varied -- with many leading towards the role of an eventual Executive Director.

Because of the nature of work in the nonprofit sector, individuals are forced to wear multiple hats. And while this can be a leading contributor for burnout, it also helps to build a multi-disciplinary staff, with a wealth of skill. So it’s no surprise that Program Coordinators branch out to all areas of the nonprofit as careers progress.

There is no straight line to leadership roles or higher salary brackets in the sector. There seldom is when it comes to career paths, but this is underscored even more with the nonprofit sector.

Editor's note - This is an excerpt of a longer study. A full copy of the report can be found here.

About the data: "These salaries are from October 2018. This is US and Canadian national data from Glassdoor and PayScale and includes totalcompensation, including salaries, bonuses and other benefits. Non-profit salaries vary widely. Industry, company size, geography and experience are all major factors. 29,164 people responding from various data sets. Images pulled from Payscale." 

Philip Manzano is Head of Marketing Communications at Keela. Founded in 2013, Keela’s all-in-one nonprofit management solution was built to solve a gaping need in the nonprofit technology market – an affordable CRM-based solution that was robust, without being complicated.

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