Nonprofit salaries vary, dependent upon mission |

Nonprofit salaries vary, dependent upon mission

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

Through the support of residents and businesses in Nevada County that give around $40 million annually to its nonprofits, the top quarter of which have a $75 million collective budget, expenditures of resources can vary drastically depending on the focus of a nonprofit. Some have high administrative costs.

Hospice of the Foothills, which employs skilled health professionals, spent about 70 percent of its more than $6 million revenue on salaries and related expenses in 2011, including close to $135,000 on its executive director.

River quality steward Sierra Streams Institute’s $567,710 in revenues are allocated about evenly between funding its programs and paying for its staff, which is mostly comprised of highly educated chemists and other scientists, according to its tax records.

Its executive director, who had a 2011 salary of more than $68,000, is also a biologist who conducts scientific research for the nonprofit.

On the other end of the spectrum, Grass Valley’s Center for the Arts, with its 12-person staff, only spent about 17 percent of its $1,316,292 revenue on its employees in 2011. The vast majority of its expenses is dedicated to programs and fundraising.

“Nobody is making a lot of money,” said The Center for the Arts Executive Director Julie Baker, whose salary was upward of $70,000 in 2011.

Baker points out she made about triple that amount in marketing before turning to the world of nonprofits.

“You don’t go into the arts to make money. You do it because you love it,” she said.

Nonprofits that service the homeless, as well as other populations, don’t have a huge amount of overhead, said Cindy Maple, executive director of Hospitality House, the area’s largest homeless service nonprofit.

“That’s the case with a lot of the service nonprofits,” Maple said. “It truly does not have layers of overhead and administrative costs. We actually need to build more administration to hold up the growth we are seeing.”

Nonprofit salaries will never make it to the level of for-profit pay, said Cristine Kelly, executive director of Music in the Mountains.

“That’s a challenge,” she said. “There is a lot of turnover.”

Additionally, Kelly and Baker argue, the members of small staffs that tend to run nonprofits each wear multiple hats.

“There is a high burnout rate,” Kelly said, only to later describe the line between her work and personal life as ambiguous.

“Sometimes I have weekends,” she said. “But I don’t think you can be successful (at a nonprofit) by clocking in and clocking out. It’s just impossible.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call (530) 477-4236.

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