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Alice Korngold of Korngold Consulting thinks nonprofit executive compensation done right involves four things:

  1. There are no conflicts of interest over the compensation matter,
  2. Conducting a compensation study — possibly by engaging an outside firm — to determine a fair and reasonable compensation package for the executive,
  3. Documenting the process of the board’s deliberations and vote, and
  4. Filing all of this information on the IRS Form 990.

It is often best that these studies are conducted by an outside firm with a reputation for impartiality. Provided that the consulting firm’s rates are reasonable and that they are selected through a clean process — meaning they are not run by a board member’s college roommate — they can insure that the research is done cleanly and in a timely fashion. A consulting firm can also add additional PR and press to a nonprofit — showing the public that the nonprofit does things fairly and transparently.

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