New GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report Reveals Economic Uncertainty Continued to Affect Compensation in Fiscal Year 2011

Median Compensation of Females Continued to Lag Behind That of Males for the 13th Year in a Row
Release date: September 16, 2013

Cover of 2013 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation ReportWashington, D.C.—GuideStar today published its 2013 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, the only large-scale analysis of its kind based entirely on data reported to the IRS, and the most comprehensive nonprofit compensation study available. The report found that economic uncertainty continued to affect compensation increases in 2011. In 2008, median increases in incumbent CEO compensation were generally 4 percent or higher. In 2011, increases were below this level for the third consecutive year. Increases were generally higher in 2011 than in 2010, however.

"Our report tells us that, in most cases, executive compensation increases were somewhat higher in 2011 for incumbent CEOs than in 2010," said Chuck McLean, vice president of research for GuideStar, the leading source of nonprofit information, and the author of all of the report for 13 straight years. "Still, compensation increases have not yet reached levels seen before the 'Great Recession.'"

The 2013 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report analyzes key employee compensation across the entire GuideStar database of digitized IRS Form 990 information for 501(c) organizations. Derived from data reported to the IRS by more than 94,000 organizations from the entire 501(c) universe for fiscal year 2011, the report includes statistical compensation analysis for 14 executive-level job categories by gender, budget size, program area, and geography as well as comparisons of year-over-year compensation increases for incumbent executives. Among the report's highlights:

  • Median compensation of females continued to lag behind that of males when considering comparable positions at similar organizations. The gap ranged from 9.0 percent for CEOs at organizations with budgets of $250 thousand or less to 21.0 percent at organizations with budgets between $5 million and $10 million.
  • Since 2001, the percentage of female CEOs has increased for organizations of all sizes. The majority of organizations with budgets of $1 million or less have women as CEOs, although female representation in that role declines as budget size increases. Only 16 percent of organizations with budgets of more than $50 million had female CEOs in 2011.
  • As usual, health and science organizations had the highest overall median salaries. Arts, religion, and animal-related organizations brought up the rear.
  • For the eighth consecutive year, Washington, D.C., had the highest overall median salary of the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA). Portland, Oregon, had the lowest.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 increased the penalties for excessive benefit transactions, including overpayment of nonprofit executives. Accurate, complete, and authoritative information on the nonprofit sector is more important than ever, and the GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report is a comprehensive resource to help nonprofits ensure compliance with IRS regulations on executive compensation.

"Nonprofits are tasked with documenting their compensation practices for oversight agencies, grantmakers, and individual donors," added McLean. "Our annual compensation report provides important information to help nonprofits explain to stakeholders that their compensation practices are appropriate."

To view sample pages or purchase the 2013 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, please visit Members of the media may request a complimentary copy by e-mailing Lindsay Nichols at

To learn more about nonprofit compensation and the 2013 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, register for our upcoming webinar, "Best Practices in Nonprofit Compensation," on October 1, 2013, at 1 p.m. ET. To find a list of compensation-related articles spanning 2002-2013, please visit

About GuideStar

GuideStar,, connects people and organizations with information on the programs and finances of more than 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofits. GuideStar serves a wide audience inside and outside the nonprofit sector, including individual donors, nonprofit leaders, grantmakers, government officials, academic researchers, and the media.

Media Contact

Lindsay J.K. Nichols
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