Executive Compensation Consulting


Benchmarking CEO and Executive Staff Salaries

A new salary benchmarking service


As part of ongoing investigation into latest salary trends, the Executive Compensation Study team conducts in-depth research and analysis.

How do new CEOs salaries compare to their predecessors?Is there a floor for association CEO salaries?What is the typical CEO severance payout?Women CEOs earn less than male counterparts in associations

ASAE's Executive Compensation Study is a new executive compensation benchmarking service using innovative tools, industry insight and predictive data to provide boards of directors and associations the confidence—and the data—needed to make informed decisions on executive compensation.

Benchmarking CEO and executive staff compensation is critical to ensure fair and competitive salary that is aligned with competitors and peer organizations. It also promotes transparency and accountability. And benchmarking is essential for effective governance, ensuring executive pay aligns with the organization's goals, fosters responsible stewardship of resources, mitigates the risk of excessive compensation, and reduces executive turnover.

This brand new, comprehensive benchmarking product is a customized report tailored to your organization. Pairing ASAE's industry-leading classification database of U.S.-based associations and nonprofits with access to millions of datapoints on finances and compensation, ASAE researchers have created a bias-free, data-driven salary report that thoroughly and completely captures the marketplace and its executive compensation practices.

With this 12-page report, organizations get a complete, detailed view of who peer organizations are and how those executives leading those groups are compensated today, including granular data like base pay, incentive pay trends, and contributions toward deferred compensation plans.

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Transparency for Stakeholders

The first step in any thorough benchmarking endeavor is properly and accurately identify all known peer organizations. To do this, ASAE built its own nonprofit classification system that goes much further and deeper than any current industry-classifications system, including National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

ASAE leveraged its extensive knowledge of tax-exempt groups to create a directory of nonprofit organizations that has been meticulously cataloged and maintained over decades based on a spectrum of critical organizational characteristics proven to influence executive compensation.

Given there are 1.8 million tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., identifying peers accurately is a difficult process. Missing peers or the wrongly identifying peers can easily and unduly influence results and create a much different view of the marketplace. ASAE researchers paid careful attention to this process to ensure all peers are known, cataloged and captured.

Peer organizations are identified and weighed by 13 distinct characteristics, including size, revenue, organization type, mission, staff size, sector, industry, board composition, major activities, scope and geography.

From there, ASAE researchers analyze several years of compensation at these peer organizations to extract trends, identify data aberrations, and produce calculations before sending the data to internal compensation experts to produce the most-accurate benchmarking report available.

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Today, ASAE is providing the Executive Compensation Study for the CEO/chief executive position for national, state or regional associations or nonprofits.

In the coming months, the study is expanding to include all the top staff positions typically found in most organizations, including COO and CFO as well as the top role for advocacy, communications, education, meetings/events, membership, business development and fundraising.  If you’d like to be notified when those staff reports are available, please email SalaryStudy@asaecenter.org

Organizations can order the Executive Compensation Study using a credit card or request to be invoiced.

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What to Expect

Given identifying peer organizations is the essential foundation on any benchmarking report, each study begins with a one-on-one interview with an ASAE's researcher to ensure the proper details about your organizations are known, understood and tracked. It's our goal to deliver a complete, transparent, thorough benchmarking study for each client. In the unlikely event that ASAE researchers believe a thorough study is not achievable, a full refund will be offered.

An Executive Compensation Study for CEO position cost $6,500 for members/$6,975 for non-members. In the coming months, Executive Compensation Studies will be available for the following positions: COO, CFO, CFOO, the chief lobbyist, chief communication officer, chief marketing officer and the chief legal position. The executive-staff study will cost $4,535 for members/ $5,000 for non-members. 

With this 12-page study, organizations receive a complete, detailed view of who peer organizations are and how those executives leading those groups are compensated today, including granular data like base pay, incentive pay trends, and contributions toward deferred compensation plans. There is currently a 14-day turnaround time for each report.

Questions? Email: SalaryStudy@asaecenter.org or call (202) 626-2898