Charity sector pay


Mr Willie Cheng argued in the Straits Times today that salaries in charity organisations are already governed by market forces.

“No one is compelled to do non-profit work. People choose to work in charities at wage levels that they know of upfront and thus fully accept.”

But I do not quite understand his point on the fact that certain charity CEOs getting $250,000 and $600,000 p.a. is “evidence that the capitalist system for human resources is working.” Perhaps he’s trying to say that the salary distribution is quite uneven?

He went on to say that a CEO running a small charity outfit of about 10 staff is generally paid $6,000 to $8,000 a month. However, the same position in a similar-sized commercial company will garner more than $10,000 a month. The difference can be explained by what he termed the “heart factor” – the intangible job satisfaction that comes with the job.

Some interesting trivia from the article: local Catholic priests are paid $500 per month with lodging, and Hindu priests from the Hindu Endowment Board get $500 to $1000 per month.

Mr Willie Cheng was the former Country Managing Director of Accenture Singapore (a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company) and also the former chairman of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre. He is currently director of the Lien Foundation Centre for Social Innovation.


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1 Comment

  1. I agree that everyone should make a decent living.

    However, to compare someone working in charity to a private organisation is grossly wrong. The charity exists to do good to the community; private organisation exists for profit. If the person who joins a charity that he should be paid private sector wages, then that person should demostrate why he/she is worth that.

    I hope all those with power and wealth joins charitable organisation for reasons greater than wealth. If not, they are no better than leeches. Please leave the charity, some less to do soul needs the money more than you do.

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