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Glossary

Leadership Compensation and Other Salaries of Note as a Percentage of Total Expenses: Many donors are understandably interested in how much the leaders of charities earn. This information is public record so Charity Navigator reports it for our users. This information does not factor into an organization's Charity Navigator rating. We provide this percentage so donors can quickly put the salary into perspective. For comparative purposes, a charity with total expenses of $20 million, which compensates its highest paid executive at $200,000 per year (or 1%) would appear to have tighter control on expenses than the $1 million organization which pays its chief executive the same amount (or 20% of expenses for one person).

Registered users can view leadership salaries and percentages side-by-side using the "compare charities" feature. It is accessible to registered users on the search results page and their "My Charities" page as well as on each charity's rating page by clicking "Compare These Charities."

Two things you should know: 1) If a charity has not reported a salary for its chief executive, that does not necessarily mean the leadership is actually uncompensated. The charities we rate are all large, complex organizations that rarely can succeed with voluntary leadership. More likely, the charity has not, in violation of IRS code, provided the data in an appropriate manner. If you are considering a donation to a charity which does not report executive level compensation, we encourage you to contact that charity directly to ascertain how that charity is able to thrive without having to pay their executives. (Please note, for those few organizations where we have confirmed volunteer leadership, we show “not compensated”, and will list other salaries of management). 2) Some charities are able to pay their leaders through multiple affiliated organizations -- allowing them to report a lower salary on any one 990, satisfying donors who want to keep the number low. Charity Navigator publishes the salary paid by the charity, as well as the portion paid by an affiliate entity (or entities), in separate columns; this lets donors know how much the CEO earns for running that organization, no matter how diverse the money trail.