News and analysis
March 17, 2015

N.Y. and D.C. Nonprofits Report Increasing Competition for Top Job Candidates

Nonprofit organizations in two major U.S. metropolitan areas are growing faster than expected and struggling to attract enough top talent to fill their jobs, according to a pair of new reports.

Many nonprofits said candidates turned down positions in the past year because they felt the pay was too low. While a quarter of the New York groups and nearly a third of the Washington groups plan to increase pay by more than 3 percent this year, officials continue to worry they won’t be able to fill all the available spots.

Though more New York and Washington nonprofits say they are increasing salaries this year than last, job seekers still cite low pay as a key reason why they turn down work at charities, the studies say. Nearly 60 percent of organizations in and around New York and Washington increased the size of their staffs in 2014, and about 55 percent in both regions anticipate adding more jobs in 2015, according to the reports from recruiting firm Professionals for NonProfits.

Those figures are better than 2013 projections, which said 49 percent of nonprofits in the New York area and 44 percent in the Washington area planned to increase the size of their staffs in 2014.

However, more than half of nonprofits said hiring top candidates has become increasingly challenging.

In both regions, organizations reported large numbers of vacancies, which present a challenge for their productivity. Twenty-five percent of nonprofits in both cities reported at least four vacancies at the start 2015. Fundraising, membership, and marketing and communications are the top three priority hiring areas.

Attracting talented employees requires organizations to stay abreast of these hiring trends, says Gayle Brandel, president of Professionals for Nonprofits. "In order for a nonprofit to compete in the marketplace now for talent, they need to be able to see what similar organizations are doing, and they need to be able to keep up with that. They really need to step up and take a look at their salaries, take a look at their performance rewards."

The surveys were based on responses from more than 900 organizations in the New York and Washington areas. The report reflects more than 44 job titles and the 2014 salary ranges paid for these positions.

Wanted: Young Workers

Salaries, which were flat for the last several years, are on the uptick. Twenty percent of New York groups and 23 percent of Washington nonprofits gave raises of more than 3 percent in 2014. This year, 25 percent of New York groups and 32 percent of those in Washington anticipate giving raises above 3 percent.

However, the most common reason candidates declined job offers is because of compensation, according to the reports. As baby boomers retire, the overall pool of employees working in nonprofits is quickly getting younger, says Ms. Brandel, requiring nonprofits to consider new approaches to seeking and keeping staff members. Among the findings that illuminate the challenges:

  • More than two-thirds of the organizations report that 50 percent or more of their employees are under age 32.
  • Sixteen percent said candidates declined jobs because of lack of technical resources and support, critical factors for tech-savvy younger workers.
  • Thirty-three percent said a perceived lack of growth opportunities was one reason candidates declined offers.

"The new generation of candidates out there are younger and they may have different interests and need different environments," says Robert Duvall, manager of special products at Professionals for NonProfits. "All of that is stuff that has to be addressed by those leaders in the sector that are growing."

Free copies of the full report are available online.

Chief Executive Officer 2014 Salaries

Organization's budget size Washington New York
Under $5-million $120,000- $160,000 $130,000- $170,000
$5.1- to $10-million $140,000- $200,000 $160,000- $210,000
$10.1- to $20-million $200,000- $240,000 $200,000- $250,000
$20.1- to $50-million $230,000- $280,000 $240,000- $300,000
More than $50-million $280,000- $330,000 $300,000- $360,000

Chief Development Officer 2014 Salaries

Organization's budget sizeWashingtonNew York
Under $5-million $90,000- $110,000 $100,000- $120,000
$5.1- to $10-million $100,000- $125,000 $120,000- $150,000
$10.1- to $20-million $120,000- $150,000 $150,000- $170,000
$20.1- to $50-million $140,000- $180,000 $170,000- 190,000
More than $50-million $170,000- $210,000 $190,000- $230,000

Note: Based on a survey of 556 organizations in New York and 412 in Washington.

Send an e-mail to Eden Stiffman.