Based on the data found in each charity's most recently filed Form 990, we include salary, cash bonuses, and expense accounts when we measure a CEO's compensation. We do not include contributions to benefit plans or deferred compensation that is allocated to be paid in later years. Deferred compensation is often accrued over many years and then is paid as a lump sum in one year. As such, we do include deferred compensation as part of the compensation figure in the year in which it is actually paid out to the employee and/or when it is expensed per the 990..

Many charities use fiscal years that differ from the calendar year. In these cases, it is important to recognize that the CEO’s compensation reported on the Form 990 reflects the CEO’s pay for the calendar year, not the fiscal year. Why? Because the IRS requires that charities report compensation on the Form 990 exactly the same as they did on the W-2 Form (which is based on the calendar year).