A glimpse into nonprofit marketing salaries and job satisfaction

Wonder where your salary stacks up in the world of nonprofit marketing?

Earlier this month, Ragan’s PR Daily served up their first-ever Salary and Job Satisfaction Survey.   Each time a survey such as this is released, I scan through the pages looking to see how the nonprofit sector stacks up against other industries in terms of salary, workforce challenges and employment trends.

PR Daily’s survey consisted on online interviews of more than 2,700 PR, marketing and communications professionals across every industry.  Astoundingly, 20% of those interviewed in the survey worked for a nonprofit organization; much higher than the 10% of our total national workforce that is employed by a nonprofit.  As such, the PR Daily offers us an opportunity to look at salaries and job satisfaction across the nonprofit sector.

There are three reasons why I have chosen to share the PR Daily survey.

  1. The typical mindset that exists within the nonprofit industry is that the private employers will always be able to offer larger salaries and better benefits than nonprofit organizations.  As a result, you would expect that the high rate of nonprofit sector respondents would drag down the values of overall survey results.  However, the PR Daily survey’s findings are in-line with similar non-industry specific surveys conducted in the past year.
  2. The large-scale sampling of the survey nearly eliminates the possibility that findings are skewed by an unusually large number of responses from higher paid, more experienced professionals. In fact, 34% of respondents have been in the business fewer than five years; a number that corresponds with national workforce data.
  3. 77% of respondents were female, again a number that is in-line with other gender-specific statistical data collected on the PR, marketing and communications industry.

Below you will find some the highlight’s as they pertain to the nonprofit industry.


  1. 19% of PR, marketing and communication professionals earn less than $35,000 per year

Good News:  This group was overwhelmingly made up of those with less than 5 total years of experience in the field.

Better News: Only 1 in 10 of the lowest wage earners works for a nonprofit organization.

Take-Away – As more nonprofit organizations begin to apply sound marketing principals to their business strategies, competition for experienced marketers has heated up causing the pay discrepancies’ between private-sector and nonprofit organizations  to shrink.

  1. Nonprofit PR salaries between $50,000 and $75,000 (26% of respondents) represented the largest salary segment of the industry.

Good News: One-Quarter of those earning $50,000 to $75,000 work in the nonprofit sector.

  1. 56% of all PR, communication and marketing professionals earn more than $50,000, that percentage increases as you move into the nonprofit sector.
  2. National averages remain surprisingly consistent across regions of the US, with notable exceptions in the Midwest, a region that maintains the largest percentage of those earning $50,000-$100,000 in the field and nearly 1/3 of those in the top bracket.



Bad - 48% of respondents stated that their company offered Onsite Training, a disturbing percentage considering the reality that a lack of training leads to inconsistency in marketing strategy.

Bad – Only 47% of respondents stated that their organization was willing to pay for offsite continuing education and training.  Again, a disturbing percentage considering the rapidly changing world of digital marketing.


Job Satisfaction

Increases in benefits, pay and a greater appreciation for marketing professionals have contributed to job satisfaction levels consistent with private industry.


What to change in the organization


More communication and clear direction from management are clearly needed, along with cohesiveness on company goals and standardized policies and practices.


Work Habits

  • Only 15% of nonprofit professionals telecommute
  • Bad: 67% of nonprofit professionals work at least 1 weekend per month
  • Better: Only 11% work 3 or more weekends per month
  • 69% of all professionals eat lunch at their desk

Perhaps the best news we can extrapolate from the PR Daily survey is that as nonprofit marketers, we are uniquely positioned to be able to settle into an organization that best fits our individual goals and needs.  Although nonprofits have long-held positions based upon traditional organizational communications and public relations, the industry has lagged well behind the private sector in terms of placing value on organizational marketing.  However, shifting consumer habits and the evolution of the digital age are awakening nonprofits to a world in which organizational marketing is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.

Competition for experienced marketers is heating up among nonprofit organizations and may breathe new life into the idea that “Great Employees Are Not Replaceable“.

Download the rest of the  Ragan’s PR Daily Salary and Job Satisfaction Survey.

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