Nonprofit executive incentive pay Article

Balsam, S, Harris, EE. (2018). Nonprofit executive incentive pay . REVIEW OF ACCOUNTING STUDIES, 23(4), 1665-1714. 10.1007/s11142-018-9473-z

cited authors

  • Balsam, S; Harris, EE



  • We utilize information only recently disclosed on Form 990 to examine the use, and consequences of, incentive pay at nonprofit organizations. Bonuses are common in nonprofits, as we observe that approximately 45% of the 44,000 organization-year observations in our sample reported paying CEO bonuses. We find that the bonuses are positively associated with profitability, competition from other nonprofits, firm size, available cash, and use of compensation consultants and committees, while negatively related to board oversight, donations, and grants. Our results also suggest that donors look unfavorably at the payment of bonuses; that is, bonuses are associated with lower future donations. Nonetheless, we find evidence consistent with the payment of bonuses incentivizing nonprofit executives, as despite reduced fundraising, future profitability and program services are positively associated with current bonus compensation.

publication date

  • December 1, 2018

published in

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 1665

end page

  • 1714


  • 23


  • 4