Median pay $147,273 for top nonprofit CEOs

Nonprofit industry watchdog Charity Navigator on Wednesday released its 2010 CEO Compensation Study – which outlines compensation for leaders of mid- to large-sized charities in the United States.

“Many donors assume that charity leaders work for free or minimal pay and are shocked to see that they earn six-figure salaries,” the report says.

“But these well-meaning donors fail to consider that these CEOs are running multi-million dollar operations that endeavor to change the world.”

Among the report’s findings:

Top leaders earned a median salary of $147,273 in 2008.

Leaders in the Pacific West region earned $139,066, where those in the Northeast earned $185,000.

The median salary of leaders of charities involving animals earned $106,030; involving the arts, culture and the humanities, $190,550; involving the environment, $120,000; involving religion, $90,000.