Roxann Mayros headshotby Roxann Mayros, President and CEO, VisionServe Alliance

In partnership with the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB), VisionServe Alliance has sponsored a Compensation and Benefits Survey biennially since 2010.  This is the only survey in the field of blindness and low vision that provides data on executive and vision rehabilitation specific professions.

There are several nonprofit compensation surveys available these days, so why does VisionServe Alliance’s Board of Directors believe this survey is necessary and important?  For a couple of reasons.  First, there is a national shortage of vision rehabilitation professionals that provide rehabilitation training, travel skills, jobs, and educational services to people with vision loss, and no other organization is surveying this class of employees.  In a limited market, it is important that VisionServe members have good salary/benefit information to help attract and retain the talent needed to reach their mission. Sometimes salary alone isn’t enough, and leaders need to know about the benefits other organizations are providing.

Second, because the IRS considers compensation to include the total of all income received by the CEO/Executive Director, including not only salary, but also contributions to retirement accounts, housing and car allowances, insurance premiums paid by the nonprofit to benefit the executive director only, and even club memberships if the membership primarily benefits the individual rather than the nonprofit (www.nonprofitcenter.org). This explains what sets VisionServe Alliance’s survey apart – we inquire about compensation AND benefits.  Attracting top leaders to our member organizations is competitive and can be complicated, especially when the IRS Form 990 requires reporting about the “comparable” data used by an organization to justify salaries paid to an organization’s top compensated employees.

With 5 surveys under our belt – 2018 survey results were recently delivered to members and associates – we have observed a few important trends:

  • Despite political and economic turbulence throughout 2017, survey participants continue to experience and to reflect the strong demand for the services offered by nonprofits in the field of vision rehabilitation, education and employment.
  • Over 5 surveys (2010 – 2018), we continue to see a difference in pay between men and women, as well as a pattern of women relatively more often found as President/CEO/Executive Director of small organizations and men more often at large organizations. This appears to account for much of the overall difference in pay.
  • We were surprised to see that women made gains in 2018. When we grouped similarly sized organizations together, we found no pattern of pay differences between the men and women in each group. In fact, in some groups the average pay for women in the President/CEO/Executive Director is higher than the pay for men.
  • The great majority (83%) of survey participants expect to give regular pay increases over the next twelve months. The median overall annual pay increase reported is 3%. These numbers are almost identical to the results reported in previous surveys.
  • Around two-thirds (66%) of survey participants expect increased competition from other employers to attract and retain qualified employees during the next twelve months. Just over half (54%) plan to increase their regular, full-time workforce in the year ahead.

Our Compensation and Benefits Survey reflects both optimism and the challenges of finding, hiring, and staffing VisionServe Alliance member organizations, especially with shortages of teachers of the visually impaired and vision rehabilitation professionals.

If you did not participate in the survey and are a member of VisionServe Alliance or NAEPB, you may purchase a copy that is calibrated to your community’s local labor statistics for $250 by e-mailing wendy@visionservealliance.org.  If you are not a member, you may purchase a copy for $500.

St. Louis, Missouri – June 19, 2018  –  In partnership with the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB), VisionServe Alliance announces that the results of the 5th Biennial Compensation & Benefits Survey are now available to all participating members. This survey is the only comprehensive survey performed in the field for vision rehabilitation professionals, manufacturing positions, and executives.

The Compensation & Benefits Survey was created in response to numerous requests for comparative salary information specifically about organizations “of and for” the blind and visually impaired. Completed during even calendar years, this year’s survey collected data from a record 93 member agencies of NIB, NAEPB and VisionServe Alliance. Online responses were submitted and held in the survey database and reviewed only by the survey consultant.

Participation in the Compensation and Benefits Survey helps organizations to: set fair salaries and benefits to attract and retain the best employees; evaluate industry standards for compensation for a range of positions; analyze each agency’s own jobs and compensation; compare agency salaries and benefits with others in the blind and visual impairment industry; and document each agency organization’s rationale for setting executive salaries, as now required by the IRS form 990.

Results are currently being sent without cost to all participating agencies. These results are reported in the aggregate so that no survey information can be traced to any particular organization. Data published in each recipient’s copy of the final report will be customized to labor statistics in the recipient’s geographic location.

Members of VisionServe Alliance, NIB or NAEPB who did not answer the survey, may purchase a report specific to local labor statistics for $250 by contacting Lindsay Lutz at VisionServe Alliance, at (314) 961-8235 or by emailing llutz@visionservealliance.org. Nonmembers may purchase an individualized report for $500.

Originally founded in 1987 as the National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCPABVI) and renamed in 2008, VisionServe Alliance is a consortium of 112 nonprofits located throughout the United States and Canada that provide unique and specialized services to people who are blind or with severe vision loss.  Members include organizations focusing on national advocacy and/or service issues, employment and manufacturing, adult vision rehabilitation, K-12 residential and on-line schools, early intervention and pre-school, dog guides, low vision clinics, and braille production.  Our members engage leaders in building a better world through services to people with vision loss by promoting leadership development, ethical management, quality services, and professional growth.

The Compensation and Benefits Survey is just one of many benefits of being a member of VisionServe Alliance.  To learn more about our member benefits and how to join VisionServe Alliance, visit www.visionservealliance.org/why-join-vsa/

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