Average Managing Director Salary
Avg. Base Salary (USD)
The average salary for a Managing Director is $150,419
What is the Pay by Experience Level for Managing Directors?
An early career Managing Director with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $78,000 based on 27 salaries. A mid-career Managing Director with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $114,867 based on 21 salaries. An experienced Managing …Read more
What Do Managing Directors Do?
Managing directors are high-level executives in companies and corporations and are responsible for directing the company's operations, as well as providing strategic recommendations to its board members; they also manage other employees to ensure that business goals are met.
There is some overlap between the work of CEOs and managing directors, and some businesses use the terms interchangeably. Regardless of the name or specific duties, managing directors have a high level of responsibility …Read more
Job Satisfaction for Managing Director
Based on 41 responses, the job of Managing Director has received a job satisfaction rating of 4.21 out of 5. On average, Managing Directors are highly satisfied with their job.
This data is based on 119 survey responses. Learn more about the gender pay gap.
Common Health Benefits
Board Cafe: How Much to Pay the Executive Director?
How Much to Pay the Executive Director?
By Jan Masaoka
Download this article as a PDFhere.
It’s ironic that while most executives in nonprofits are paid 20 – 40% less than their for-profit counterparts, news reports have focused on the few excessively high salaries in nonprofits. Some states have enacted laws that require boards to review executive salaries—a good practice in any case—and other states have considered laws that restrict nonprofit pay to various kinds of formulas (as are some salaries in government). This month’s issue of the Board Café offers a framework for determining executive pay.
Both the Internet and new regulations in some states are making nonprofit boards more aware than ever about executive compensation. On the web at www.guidestar.org, all the Forms 990 for US nonprofits (with annual revenues of $25,000 or more) are posted and each shows the salaries for “key employees” who are paid $50,000 per year or more. In other words—by going to this website anyone can find out the salary of the top staff in nearly any nonprofit.
At the same time, the media is filled with stories of executives—in both for-profit and nonprofit corporations—with excessive compensation. Many CEOS at many large corporations make $10 million per year or more—often 400 times the salary of a blue collar worker at the same company (Business Week, Stanford Report), raising eyebrows among employees and shareholders. The salaries of some nonprofit execs—with a median of $75,000 for organizations with annual budgets of between $1 million and $2.5 million—are also legal but raise eyebrows in different circles. In California, nonprofits with non-governmental income of $2 million or more are now required to have the board approve the salaries of the CEO/executive director as well as that of the CFO.
Despite the press about excessive compensation, nonprofit boards are more frequently worried that they are paying their executives too little. In a national study of nonprofit executive directors, most were reasonably satisfied with their compensation, despite salaries often between $40,000 and $60,000 in some of the country’s most expensive urban areas. On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is “very satisfied”), respondents’ average rating of satisfaction with pay was 3.47, although a substantial portion—27%--rated their compensation packages a 1 or 2. It is also noteworthy that 6% of executive directors receive no salary at all—they’re volunteers.
More disturbing were the gender differences in salary. Despite the predominance of women in nonprofit executive positions around the country, male executives make significantly more than their female colleagues do. This is true at five of the six sizes of organization studied. The gender gap is especially wide at agencies with budgets of more than $5 million. The mean salary nationally for women executives of nonprofits with budgets between $5 and $10 million was $82,314. At this same budget size, the mean salary for men was $98,739.
This question of how much to pay usually arises in one of two quite different settings: when hiring a new executive director and when discussing a raise for a current executive director. When hiring a new ED, boards typically choose a salary designed to attract strong candidates. Later, the same board may end up ignoring salary as a retention tool, and instead focus only on percentage increases. Some of the objectives and factors to take into consideration:
- The executive director’s salary should make the organization competitive in the market for talent. To where is your executive director most likely to leave? From where are you most likely to recruit your next ED? If the answer is a similar nonprofit, look at the salaries of comparable nonprofits in the area. (But keep in mind that salaries at very similar nonprofits can be different by factors of 10 or more.) If the answer is government, look at the kinds of positions your ED might take, and what salary and benefits are being offered.
- The salary is fair in the context of other salaries in the organization. How much are other employees making? How distant or how close do you think is appropriate?
- The ED’s salary for the coming year reflects the contribution we expect the ED to make this coming year, not as a reward for past contributions. Performance in the last year gives us the best clues about how well the ED will do next year, but this year’s salary is not a reward for last year’s work.
- The ED’s salary should send the appropriate signal to the ED, to the staff, and to others. Words are important, but so is money. Praising an executive director while keeping her compensation flat ends up conveying a message that the board doesn’t really value her work. In the same way, giving an inadequate executive a raise while quietly considering her termination sends a mixed signal you may later hear about in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
- Neither the ED’s salary—or other salaries—should cause financial stress on the organization. The board has a responsibility to keep the total costs of the organization (including the executive director’s salary) in an affordable range. On the other hand, when hiring a new director, it may be appropriate to invest “venture capital” in offering a higher salary. In an experiment by the Neighborhood Investment Corporation, $5,000 and $10,000 grants were made to local groups to raise the salary offered to a new executive. The theory was that by offering more, a better qualified person could be hired and such a person could raise enough money to meet the new costs as well as bring up all salaries. In some cases, boards did succeed in hiring at a new level of competence and the model was proven correct. But in other cases, boards still were unable to attract talent with which they were satisfied.
Whatever you pay your executive director, it’s a good idea to have the salary reviewed and approved by the board annually, preferably in the context of performance evaluation and the budget for the upcoming year. The simple step of assigning one person to look up the salaries of comparable organizations can set a helpful context for the board.
Information on salaries may be found at:
- Guidestar: draws salary data from 65,000 Forms 990, which are filed annually by nonprofits with annual revenues of $25,000 or more. Salaries reported are those of $50,000 or higher. It’s also possible to look up organizations in your community with which you are familiar to see the salaries of their key employees. Keep in mind that the data is typically a few years old and does not include hours worked and certain other types of benefits.
- Abbott, Langer $185,
- Nonprofit Times has an annual issue on nonprofit compensation, but focuses on large national organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the SPCA, and others, and may not be relevant for community-based organizations.
- Local compensation studies on nonprofits are conducted in some areas. The local United Way or community foundation will have the information if there is one. Local business newspapers or the local Chamber of Commerce often conduct local studies on for-profits.
- “Chief Executive Compensation: A Guide for Nonprofit Boards,” covers IRS regulations on excess pay, more ways to research comparable nonprofit salaries and a list of national and regional compensation surveys. This very short, 20-page booklet is available from BoardSource for $16; 800-883-6262.
This article is adapted from The Best of the Board Café, available at amazon.com.
Original publication date: 6/1/2005
© 1998 - 2006 CompassPoint Nonprofit Services
Average Executive Director Salary
Avg. Base Salary (USD)
The average salary for an Executive Director is $80,448
What is the Pay by Experience Level for Executive Directors?
An entry-level Executive Director with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $55,366 based on 180 salaries. An early career Executive Director with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $60,914 based on 2,937 salaries. A …Read more
What Do Executive Directors Do?
Executive directors typically act as senior managers of organizations and businesses. Their responsibilities and duties can vary depending on where these professionals work; however, most duties are universal. Executive directors help to design, develop, and implement strategic plans to help their company work in a cost- and time-efficient manner. They are also responsible for overseeing day-to-day activity for the company, as well as developing future plans.
The executive director is in some …Read more
Job Satisfaction for Executive Director
Based on 3,195 responses, the job of Executive Director has received a job satisfaction rating of 4.38 out of 5. On average, Executive Directors are highly satisfied with their job.
Prefer to self-define
This data is based on 8,141 survey responses. Learn more about the gender pay gap.
Common Health Benefits
How much does an Executive Director make in the United States?
Director payscale executive
Salary Scale for Executive Directors
By Eric Strauss
The executive director of an organization is the person in charge of day-to-day operations -- essentially the chief executive officer, or CEO. This makes him the top manager, responsible for every aspect of organizational workings through his leadership team and staff. Executive directors may sit on the board of directors, hence the word "director" in the job title. However, they may also simply be the highest-ranked of all an organization's management "directors." The title "executive director" is often used in the nonprofit sector, although CEO is also used there.
The mean annual wage for executive directors and other chief executives was $176,550 as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 25 percent made more than $187,199, while the bottom 25 percent made $109,320 or less. Among nonprofits, the organization Charity Navigator reported in its 2010 CEO Compensation Study that the top executives of charities earned an average of $147,273 as of 2008.
Company management, appropriately, was the largest single job industry for chief executives, according to the bureau. These executive directors earned a mean annual wage of $209,320. The best-paying industry for a chief executive was the motion picture industry, with a mean annual wage of $234,770. Charity Navigator found that the best-paying nonprofits for top executives were in education, at $272,645 a year, and the arts and culture, at $190,550.
Organizational Size Breakdown
Charity Navigator found that nonprofits' pay for executive directors varies depending on the size of the organization. For instance, chief executives at the largest charities in terms of expenses made $280,000, on average. Those at medium-sized charities earned $157,056, on average, while those at the smallest nonprofits made $95,481, on average.
The state with the most top executives was California, according to the bureau, where they earned a mean annual wage of $201,030. The best-paying state for executive directors was Delaware, with a mean annual wage of $218,900. Among nonprofits, Charity Navigator reported that executive directors in the Northeast states were the best paid, averaging $185,000 a year, while the chief executives in the Mountain West region were the lowest paid, at $108,000 a year, on average.
Eric Strauss spent 12 years as a newspaper copy editor, eventually serving as a deputy business editor at "The Star-Ledger" in New Jersey before transitioning into academic communications. His byline has appeared in several newspapers and websites. Strauss holds a B.A. in creative writing/professional writing and recently earned an M.A. in English literature.
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