The Salary of a Communications Manager for a Nonprofit


Working in the nonprofit sector provides the opportunity to impact a variety of causes such as health care, religion, education, arts and culture, environment, animal welfare, social issues and humanitarian relief. Communications managers for nonprofit organizations have many of the same tasks as their for-profit counterparts, although salaries are in some cases lower. Salary levels vary based on geographic location, size of organization and organizational focus.

Nonprofit Communication Managers

  • Communications managers at nonprofits may be responsible for internal communications, media and public relations, liaising with the community and government members and supervising staff. Though their jobs are similar to communication manager roles in the for-profit sector, communications managers at nonprofits often work with more limited budgets and human resources and may be required to take on broader responsibilities.

Wages and Benefits

  • The Nonprofit Times 2014 Salary and Benefits Report indicates that communication/public relations managers averaged $54,392 per year. Data published in PR News noted that 13.4 percent of communications managers at nonprofits earned more than $80,000 per year, and that only 3.8 percent had an annual income of $100,000 or greater. By contrast, 13.5 percent earned $30,000 to $39,000 per year.

Factors Influencing Salary

  • A Nonprofit Times salary survey showed a geographic difference in earnings in 2012 among communications and public relations directors, with the highest average earnings being in the south central region of the United States and the lowest in the north central region. Average salary increased with organizational budget size, with communications managers at organizations with a budget of less than $50,000 averaging $35,500 in pay, and those working at organizations with a budget of $50 million or more averaging $98,240. By category, nonprofits with an international/foreign focus paid the most followed by organizations focusing on educational and public and societal causes. Lowest annual wages occurred in human services, animal, environmental and arts and culture organizations.

Keys to Success

  • Those transitioning from a corporate role to a nonprofit organization can offer many transferable skills, particularly with respect to business savvy. Knowledge of how nonprofit organizations operate and a demonstrated commitment to nonprofit activity through previous work or volunteer involvement are beneficial for those seeking a job at a nonprofit. Writing skill and media relations capability are critical for advancement. A belief in mission and objectives of the nonprofit organization is also key to success.

Career Outlook

  • The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 11.4 million peoplewere employed in nonprofits in 2012. The number of nonprofit jobs showed a yearly increase between 2007 and 2012. Considering factors such as increasing numbers of donor bequests to charitable organizations, the aging population and the resulting need to provide services and the requirement to fill the gap left by government cutbacks, the number of jobs in the nonprofit sector is expected to continue rising.

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