Next Stage is proud to unveil the 2020 edition of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Nonprofit Executive Compensation Study.

Click here to download your copy.

As covered in the Charlotte Ledger, Next Stage launched this project as a response to challenges repeatedly brought forward through its work facilitating strategic planning and executive searches for area organizations. Talent acquisition and retention is a priority across the nonprofit landscape. How to fairly compensate nonprofit staff leadership is a challenge that boards and executive directors wrestle with across organizations of every size, budget and mission focus.

In this report, readers will find research culled from the 990 forms of over 150 local nonprofits, insights gleaned from more than 40 participants in an in-depth survey, and commentary provided by 11 executives who agreed to one-on-one interviews. Criteria for inclusion in the study include being headquartered in Mecklenburg County and having revenue of more than $350,000. This research forms the basis of findings that are outlined throughout. Highlights include:

  • Dispelling the myth that nonprofit chief executives are driven primarily by passion over pay, the vast majority (92.7%) of organizations surveyed note that base compensation is important to their overall job satisfaction.
  • Other compensation, including benefits, are offered by just 60% of the organizations surveyed.
  • The Education and Environment & Animals sectors lag behind the Health and Human Services sectors.
  • The boards of nearly 30% of organizations surveyed lack a formal assessment process for the chief executive that is tied to annual compensation. And based on stakeholder feedback, those that do are relatively recently formed or are not well-designed.
  • Less than 40% of organizations surveyed offer a pay-for-performance or bonus structure to their chief executives.

This is the first edition of a study that Next Stage aims to produce every three years, allowing the firm to compare against benchmarks and illuminate how organizations are addressing executive compensation from today into the future.

What’s Next? on August 28
Join host Josh Jacobson on August 28 for What’s Next? – the firm’s twice-monthly digital roundtable – where he will share insights on the development of the compensation study, additional highlights from the research and recommendations for getting actionable on executive compensation. Josh will be joined by panelists Jim Bales, Chief Financial Officer for the Children & Family Services Center and Kevin Monaghan, Founder and Director of Charlotte-based Intuitive Compensation Group. They will add their perspectives on formal assessments of the chief executive and the design of pay-for-performance structures.

Register now and make sure to mark it on your calendar! And invite your board chair, executive committee or any board leader who might have interest in this topic. All are welcome.

About Next Stage
Next Stage is a strategy and strengthening firm based in Charlotte, NC and dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations, social cause start-ups and socially-conscious companies “get to the next level.”  Led by Managing Director Josh Jacobson, Next Stage partners with clients to design strategy and processes that create real community impact.

Talent acquisition is at the heart of the firm’s work. Next Stage conducts executive search, transition planning and onboarding, using a unique, consultant-style approach that positions talent acquisition in service to your organizational strategy. The firm develops a robust pool of traditional and non-traditional candidates to ensure your organization can thrive in its next leadership chapter.

To learn more about Next Stage’s services, visit the website at