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Calling All Future Nonprofit Managers

This morning, I read the following stat in the new issue of Fortune Magazine:

640,000 senior managers are needed to staff the growing nonprofit sector by 2016 - double the number of managers today. Typical pay for executives at nonprofits is projected to crack six figures in 2006, but will still trail that of the average U.S. manager by about $60,000.

Two thoughts:

  1. That's a lot of managers needed. To be clear, managers are senior level brass - we're not usually talking about hands-on service providers. So, don't go hopping on the counselor, teacher or administrative assistant bandwagon just because you may strike it rich and feel like you're making a difference. Top-level managers often raise the funds, work the press, and manage the people. Will we have enough qualified and smart people able to effectively lead nonprofits in the next ten years? Some schools have management programs tailored towards the nonprofit world, and I know of folks who have made the jump from the for-profit world to the nonprofit arena and are happy (and sometimes well compensated).
  2. Should nonprofit executive pay be this high? Personally, I think yes. Some nonprofits have a staff of 75+ people and provide services to thousands more. These execs raise money in the millions through networking and they have a specific set of skills and qualifications that allow them to make sure things run smoothly so that the agency is making a difference. As the article states, were one of these people to manage the same amount of people and money, at say, a hotel or brokerage firm, they would make a lot more.

In any industry, you've got to pay for talent. However, I believe the smart managers will not pad their wallets at the expense of those they serve. The best ones will find ways to raise more money, so that they can be fairly paid and their client base can increase.

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