Leadership Transition Carries Big Salary Boost!

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May 15, 2011; Source: Pensacola News Journal | The Pensacola Habitat for Humanity has a health operating budget of $11 million per year but until just recently its executive salary was a very reasonable $0. Betty Salter, a 78-year-old former teacher, led the organization since 1987 as a volunteer. The board expects that it will have to pay its next executive as much as $100,000 to lead this organization which started building 3 houses per year for low income people and now builds 45 houses each year. We find it unfortunate that the tone of this article emphasizes a need for a higher level of business acumen for nonprofit leadership jobs that are opening. There are other characteristics that are equally as important as a “good business resume.” But this is now the dominant narrative in some communities.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Patrick Bell

    The article from Florida reads, in part, “They know that to go to the next level, the organization needs to hire a person with management skills, business smarts and leadership abilities. And those folks usually don’t work for free.” The implication being that the previous ED may have lacked these skills and abilities. Besides being insulting to someone who built the capacity of the local Habitat from 3 houses to 45 houses per year, nothing is mentioned of commitment to the mission. The dominant narrative should really be about the dual (or triple) bottom line. Sustainability is both about mission and margin!

  • Rebekah Basinger

    Wonderfully stated, Patrick. This article not only demeans the wonderful, generous service of the previous executive director, it makes folks with business savy sound completely devoid of a philanthropic spirit and tone-deaf to the sound of the organization’s mission. I don’t believe either is true.