Reply To: Can salary keep pace?


    I’m really appreciative of the wisdom here! We just completed a comp analysis with Blue Whale and recently shared high-level salary report themes during our July staff retreat and July board mtg. We’re based in Austin, TX which is an extremely competitive market to retain nonprofit staff as private sector jobs are flooding the market and housing affordability is non-existent. Here are some things we’re working on as we also strive to center equity, while keeping an eye on sustainability:

    1) Staff Compensation Philosophy Team: Over the last several months, we have held several collaborative sessions for staff to convene around designing a comp philosophy that is values-anchored for our org. Some staff musings that are bubbling up include: a) how do we get our lowest paid folks to a living wage, which definition of living wage do we use? Do we set a “floor” or a minimum threshold for the entry living wage. Do we suggest a cap on CEO salary (acknowledging that the Board decides on CEO comp) or do we strive for a certain ratio between the lowest paid staff & Leadership Team/CEO (i.e. not to exceed 1:3 ratio so example lowest $50,000/CEO $150,000 cap)? As CEO, I’ve also been thinking about another round of strategic restructuring/succession planning, and whether the time is ripe to consider a Co-Exec Director model as we try to usher in shared leadership models.

    2) Planned & Board Approved FY23 Budget Deficit: We’ve just started a new fiscal year (Aug. 1st) where we presented (& the board approved) a deficit budget, projecting a negative net income of -$350,000 (which represents 2 mos of op cash). We currently have 10 mos of cash runway and the budget rationale (supporting the planned deficit) was that we needed to reinvest in staff and rebuild. We absolutely still need to figure out business model/rev model sustainability.

    3) Our FY23 Budget presentation, included a 5% COLA adjustment across our 18 staff (except CEO), effective 8/1/22 as I really wanted us to demonstrate action on first steps related to our Comp Analysis and the work of our Staff Comp Philosophy team. Nevertheless, I see the 5% COLA adj as a 1st step, and we need to do more…we’re figuring out what a staggered, multi-prong phased approach might look like…prioritizing those folks that are on the lower salary end.

    4) Advocacy with Funders – As we begin a new FY, we are in full-court press mode with fundraising. We are including COLA adj requests in our grant applications. With one of our trusted anchor funders, we included a 9% COLA adj as its own line item and have been having very candid and thoughtful convos about full-cost coverage, and the importance of flexible gen ops funds.

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