May directors and officers get paid by the nonprofit organizations they serve? This question often arises when a nonprofit’s founder seeks compensation for his or her services to the organization, as well as occasionally when payment to others seems warranted. The answer is generally “Yes,” but with several caveats.
Feeling underpaid and overworked at your nonprofit organization? For many nonprofit workers, such conditions are the norm. Nonprofit employees are often willing to accept less pay than their private-sector counterparts because they also enjoy rich non-financial rewards: helping others in need, serving worthy causes, and achieving goals not attainable through ordinary economic forces. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, however, top executives at some charities are increasingly very well paid. The article states that over 2,700 top executives made more than seven-figure salaries in 2014. How can some nonprofits justify such high salaries, and what can the rest learn from them?
What do Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton share in common? Among so many things political and otherwise (go ahead, use your imagination), they both head up charitable foundations, which have recently received media scrutiny for apparently operating outside legal boundaries. What are the problems? More importantly for us regular folks, what can prudent and responsible nonprofit leaders learn from these examples? We will focus here on several areas related to:
- State charitable regulation requirements,
- Tax exemption principles against private benefit for nonprofit insiders, and
- IRS requirements for staying on course with an organization’s tax-exempt purpose.