Executive Talent Search & Digital Marketing for Mission-Driven Organizations | Decoding the Right Salary for Your Next Leadership Hire

Decoding the Right Salary for Your Next Leadership Hire

Wondering if Your Salary Offer is Competitive?

Have you ever started recruiting a leadership position and wondered if you were offering a competitive salary? In the world of nonprofit organizations, attracting and retaining exceptional leadership talent is vital for achieving the organization’s mission and driving sustainable growth. One key aspect that can make or break the recruitment process is determining the right salary for your next leadership position. In this article, we will explore practical steps and resources to help you navigate the salary determination process effectively.

1. Analyze Job Responsibilities and Requirements

To establish a solid foundation for salary determination, begin by defining the specific responsibilities and requirements of the leadership position. Although most people overlook this, the process of creating a detailed and accurate job description is really the first step in determining a competitive compensation package. Consider aspects such as the organization’s size, scope, and mission impact. By thoroughly understanding the role, you can accurately assess its value and establish an appropriate salary range.

2. Utilize Benchmark Data

Delve into industry benchmarks by researching salary data specific to the nonprofit sector. Explore reputable compensation surveys and reports to gain insights into comparable positions and salary ranges. This information will provide you with a starting point to ensure your salary offer remains competitive and attractive to top talent. This is one place where it may be worth spending a little to get an accurate report – there are free reports out there, but they are often so general that you will end up with a wide salary range. Some tools you can use are:

3. Entrepreneurially Assess Organizational Resources

When determining the right salary for a leadership position, it’s crucial to evaluate your nonprofit’s financial capacity. Assess the organization’s financial health, including revenue sources and budget constraints. Analyze your nonprofit’s long-term goals and objectives, and identify how the leadership position contributes to the organization’s success.


I would encourage you to think entrepreneurially about compensation, especially for positions that directly impact fundraising or revenue growth. For instance, when hiring a Director of Development or Executive Director, you may consider raising the salary for a candidate who has a proven track record in bringing in substantial donations. This person’s performance will more than cover the extra cost and you will be able to scale your impact even faster.

4. Consider External Factors Like Geography

Take into account external factors that can influence salary decisions. Geographical considerations play a significant role, as the cost of living and compensation norms can vary widely from one location to another. This has become especially important now, in the era of remote working. Your offer should be based on where the candidate resides, which takes into account their cost of living and relevant tax laws.


Stay informed about industry trends and regulatory developments impacting nonprofit executive compensation. By monitoring these trends and exploring case studies from other organizations, you can gain insights into best practices and avoid potential pitfalls.

5. Navigate Negotiations and Total Compensation

To attract top-tier candidates, it is essential to balance salary with other attractive benefits. Competitive benefits packages can include health insurance, retirement plans, vacation time, professional development opportunities, and hybrid or remote work opportunities, . Consider leveraging additional benefits to compensate for any salary constraints you may have.

Let Us Help

If you would like to make sure you are creating competitive salary packages as part of your recruitment process, please reach out to me at nshah@ManevaGroup.com. We will schedule a no-cost, no obligation 15-minute consultation to discuss how to supercharge your recruitment efforts.

Maneva Group Group is a woman and minority owned national Executive Search firm focusing on the social sector with expertise in completely managing the recruiting process, curating diverse and exceptionally qualified candidate pools, and advising C-suite executives and board members through crucial hiring decisions.

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