I’m not sure when the dangerous trend started that gave credence to the belief that non-profit organizations should pay poverty wages. Having successfully run non-profit performing arts organizations for over thirty years, I can attest to the benefit gained, output generated and overall improvement in morale when competitive wages and benefits are offered to employees. The reason often cited for NOT paying competitive wages is the following: “We cannot afford that“. Sorry, but that is just an excuse for poor management and leadership. It’s not that you cannot afford to pay well and offer wonderful benefits….it’s that all too often, the leaders and sadly, the often wealthy board members, simply choose not to pay their staff well. It really is a matter of choice – you either do believe that your staff is talented and worthy of a great salary or you don’t. A well paid, highly skilled team will always produce the results necessary to insure that the mission of the organization is achieved and that your team stays together for many years. Cleary the issue of compensation is filled with statistics, but it also is directly related to attitude. Ask yourself – do you really care about your team, and if so, what are the next steps you are going to take to move them on the path toward appropriate compensation? A mediocre salary and benefit package never achieves great results.