Figuring Out Nonprofit Compensation

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Posted November 12, 2019

by Ben Hastil

Whether you are a nonprofit job seeker or employer, determining the right amount of compensation for a position can be tricky!

One of the best sources for wage and salary data is the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s CareerOneStop website, which provides a variety of tools and information related to career exploration, training, and jobs.

Their CareerOneStop Wages by Occupation and Local Area tool and CareerOneStop Salary Finder tool each provides two different ways to access wage and salary data by occupation and metro area, using reliable government survey data.

As an example, using their CareerOneStop Wages by Occupation and Local Area tool, if we select “Wisconsin,” expand the “Community and Social Service” category and check “Social and Human Service Assistants,” and then select “Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metro Area” on the next page, it provides us with the following breakdown of wages for social and human service assistants in the United States, Wisconsin, and the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metro Area.

As noted on their website, these charts show wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. The lowest (10th percentile) wage shown is not necessarily a “starting wage.” Instead, they explain that “it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th percentile wages when you start out in most careers.”

If you click on the “Occupation Profile” button, it provides a variety of other information (as previewed below), including projected employment and outlook, typical education and experience of people starting in the occupation, and more.

Of course, this wage and salary data has limitations in that it only provides information on compensation for broad groups of position types, and doesn’t take the size of the employing organization into account (or benefits offered), among other important factors that can affect compensation.

However, while keeping this in mind, it can provide a useful starting point, being based off of reliable government survey data, and we hope it is helpful to you, whether you are a nonprofit job seeker or employer wondering about appropriate compensation!


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