How Are Founders & Employees Paid in a Nonprofit Organization?

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When you start a nonprofit, one of the first questions you have to answer is how the founders and employees will be paid. There are many different ways to approach this and it can be confusing to figure out what’s best for your organization. In this article, we’ll discuss how nonprofit salaries are determined and where the money comes from. We’ll also cover some of the benefits and drawbacks of each payment method.


Why Are Nonprofit Founders and Employees Allowed To Be Paid?

Before we get into how salaries are paid, it’s important to understand why founders and employees of nonprofits are allowed to be paid at all. Many people assume that all nonprofits are run by volunteers, but this is not the case. In fact, the IRS requires that all nonprofits have at least one paid employee. The reason for this is that nonprofits are businesses and all businesses need to have someone in charge.

Despite popular belief, nonprofits are allowed to collect income, but there are restrictions on how that money can be used. The main purpose of a nonprofit is to further its cause; not to make a profit for the founders or employees. So, any money that is made must be reinvested back into the organization or used to further the cause. However, one way that money can be used is by paying the employees (which can include the founders) a reasonable salary.


How Do Founders of Nonprofits Make Money?

The most common way for founders of nonprofits to make money is through salaries. The salary you pay yourself should be based on the amount of time and effort you put into the organization. It should also reflect the market value of your skills and experience. If you’re not sure how much to pay yourself, you can consult with a nonprofit compensation expert.

Another way for founders to make money is through commissions. If you raise funds or solicit donations, you may be entitled to a percentage of these funds. This payment method can incentivize founders to work harder, but it can also create conflict if not properly managed.

Finally, some founders choose to take no salary at all. This can be done for a variety of reasons, including a dedication to the cause or a belief that all of the organization’s money should go toward its programs.


How Are Employee Salaries Determined?

The salaries of nonprofit employees are usually determined by two factors: experience and the size of the organization. Employees with more experience tend to be paid more than those with less experience. The same is true for employees who work for larger organizations. In general, the salaries of nonprofit employees are lower than those of for-profit employees.

Another factor that can affect employee salaries is the location of the organization. Employees who work in high-cost cities (such as New York or San Francisco) will usually be paid more than those who work in less expensive cities. Usually, significant research is conducted on the salaries of similar positions in nearby organizations to determine the salaries for their employees.


Where Does The Money for Employee Salaries Come From? 

As mentioned before, the income that a nonprofit makes can be used for employee salaries, as this is considered an expense that helps to further the organization’s programs.

The money for employee salaries comes from a variety of sources, including donations, grants, and government contracts. Many nonprofits also generate revenue through fundraising events and programs. This money is then used to pay the salaries of the employees.



In conclusion, salaries for nonprofit founders and employees are determined by a variety of factors; including experience, the size of the organization, and the location. The money for these salaries comes from revenue generated by the organization, which can come from donations, grants, or government contracts. So, if you’re planning on creating a nonprofit, budget for your employees’ salaries when seeking donations or other sources of income.