The nonprofit pay dilemma.

Posted March 8, 2010 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

Why is it, I must ask, are those who do the most service-oriented work, those who are paid the least? Teachers, social workers, lowly nonprofit workers, etc. So much so that those of us who care about nonprofits and wish we could stay in the nonprofit sector begin to turn our eyes to the for-profit world just to be on-par with our peers who make sometimes two and three times as much as we do for similar work.

As the Y generation becomes more prevalent in business, nonprofits may find themselves lacking for the right people. The Y generation is a generation that strives constantly to move up and gain more responsibility, more satisfaction in our work, and going hand in hand with those things, a higher salary. Which begs the question: how long do we stay? (in the nonprofit sector, that is) Can we find our fulfillment through volunteerism or elsewhere and not in our full-time work. The answer for me, right now, is still up in the air. But who knows what the future holds.

Eventually, many of us in the nonprofit sector will look at our expensive degrees, our climbing bills and say to ourselves, “Maybe the costs outweigh the benefits here.” And then, what will the nonprofit sector do? Can the nonprofit sector rest on its laurels hoping there are enough of us willing to accept the pay in order to do good in the world for a little longer?


About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."