Publisher's Note: Big nonprofit salaries
By Jody Reese
There has been some recent controversy over salaries paid to top managers of Easter Seals in New Hampshire. The president and CEO makes $325,000 and several other top managers earn more than $200,000 per year.
Executive Councilor Beverly Hollingworth called the salaries bizarre in a local political column. And they may be.
Nonprofits are forced to walk the fine line between attracting top talent and not paying exorbitant wages. Is Easter Seals getting $325,000 worth of leadership? Will this kind of salary stop people from supporting this organization?
In general our culture favors star leaders. This is reflected in huge salaries for Fortune 500 CEOs as compared to mid-level managers, and for sports stars as compared to regular players, and for Hollywood stars as compared to average actors. The different in salaries can be 10 times. It conveys a clear message that the individual is more important than the group. And it represents a false value. Leaders are important, but not more important than the team they lead.
Easter Seals needs a good and competent president, but it also needs great mid-level managers who do the actual work of running the organization. The question Easter Seals and any other organization should ask is what value does leadership really bring. Is it worth $50,000 or $500,000?