What percentage of revenue should go toward salaries for nonprofit

As the nonprofit sector continues to grow and face greater expectations from stakeholders, many organizations feel increasing pressure to demonstrate effectiveness. One of the most crucial ways nonprofits can demonstrate their impact is through the allocation of funding. Determining whether a nonprofit’s revenue is going toward achieving its mission depends on how revenue is defined by each organization. For example, a fundraising campaign may generate revenue which is used to pay for ongoing operations such as salaries and office space. Since revenue generated through fundraising counts toward nonprofit revenue goals, it’s important to understand how much each dollar raised goes toward these expenses.

The percentage of revenue that should go toward salaries for nonprofit organizations depends on the size and scope of the organization. For example, a small organization with only one or two employees may be able to afford to pay each employee more than a larger organization with many employees. However, in most cases, the amount of revenue allocated toward salaries is determined by the type of work being done.

For example, if you’re running a homeless shelter, you’ll need to allocate a higher percentage of your revenue toward salaries than you would if your organization were focused on providing meals to senior citizens. If you’re running a homeless shelter, it’s likely that more hands are needed on deck than if you’re serving meals.

What percentage of revenue should go toward salaries for nonprofit


The board of directors is one of the most important groups in a nonprofit. Good ones can keep an organization running smoothly, while bad ones can lead to disastrous consequences. But if you’re on the board of a nonprofit, it can be hard to know when your organization is at risk for falling apart. We’ve broken it down so you can figure out whether your work with your organization is helping or hurting its chances of success.

Divide up the money.

Once you’ve separated the costs into fixed and variable, it’s time to divide up the money.

  • Fixed costs can be thought of as expenses that never change no matter how much revenue you bring in. These include things like rent, utilities and insurance premiums.
  • Variable costs are expenses that do change with your income level. For example, if you have a website and get more traffic because of marketing efforts, then this would increase the cost of hosting your website since you’re getting more visitors who need more resources (bandwidth).

Board of directors.

The board of directors is another independent source of compensation. A nonprofit’s board members are volunteers, and they often perform important work for the organization. For example, many boards oversee fundraising efforts and ensure that money is being spent in an appropriate manner. However, they don’t typically receive paychecks or other forms of compensation from their nonprofits or its members (unless they have a specific arrangement with them to do so).

Board members are not employees because they aren’t paid by the nonprofit itself (or by its members). Instead, most organizations reimburse these individuals for travel costs incurred while attending meetings and other official events hosted by their boards of directors. This practice ensures that no funds will be misused due to faulty accounting practices on behalf of these people—it also helps prevent potential conflicts-of-interest situations from developing between someone who works closely with a nonprofit versus one who uses it exclusively as another source of income (i.e., through donations).

Evaluate and decide.

Once you’ve established the salary range your organization is willing to pay, it’s time to evaluate current salaries and determine what kind of increase they’ll need. First, consider how well paid employees are compared to others in similar positions in other organizations. Are they dramatically underpaid? If so, this might indicate that there’s something wrong with your compensation system or that certain staff members aren’t performing up to par. Conversely, if you find that your staff is being overcompensated for their work experience and education level—or if you simply don’t have enough funds available in the budget—you may want to consider negotiating a new salary range with them or cutting back on their paychecks until after grant funding comes through.

Again: With nonprofit organizations relying heavily on grants for funding and donations from benefactors being unpredictable at best…

Share the numbers with members.

Sharing the numbers with members, board, staff and donors is essential to building trust. It also helps them understand the impact they can have by making donations or volunteering.

You’ll want to share the financials (and other organizational data) with others outside your organization as well, including:

  • The community at large
  • The press
  • Government officials

Getting an objective look at the necessary costs will help you make a decision that’s right for your nonprofit

When you’re looking to make a major decision, it’s important to take the time to get an objective look at the necessary costs. In this case, that means making sure your nonprofit is spending its money wisely.

  • First, consider whether or not it’s worth spending more on salaries for nonprofits since you already have enough funding. A good rule of thumb is that if you can pay yourself more than 50% of revenue, it’s probably worth taking on some debt (i.e., borrowing money from family members). If not, then perhaps it would be better for someone else who doesn’t live in your home and share expenses with their spouse/partner/etc., such as one of your employees if they were willing to move out into their own apartment instead of living with their partner/roommates (or even parents), which would increase their rent significantly but also reduce other costs associated with being part of another household – such as food shopping each week instead of sharing weekly grocery trips between several households at once!
  • Next: decide whether or not it makes sense financially speaking before moving forward with any plans regarding salaries for nonprofit employees because there might be other ways around paying off debts faster by increasing revenue elsewhere (such as increasing donations) rather than making changes within existing systems (like increasing salary).


We hope we’ve helped you work through some of the key questions related to this issue. It can be difficult to determine how much of your nonprofit’s revenue should go toward salaries, but it’s important to take into account the needs and goals of your organization. You also want to consider your employees’ needs when deciding on an appropriate salary percent.

We wish you all the best in making this tough decision!

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