Chief Operating Officer salaries at nonprofits

Nonprofit COOs earn an average of $200,117 per year, including benefits, with the top 5% of COOs working at nonprofits earning more than $497,613
Person working at a desk, digital art, by Dalle

Nonprofit chief operating officers (and directors of operations) carry out the day-to-day operational management of nonprofits, including overseeing staff, programs, finances, and facilities. They are typically members of the executive leadership team, working closely with the chief executive officer (or executive director) to ensure that the organization is running efficiently and effectively. They are also among the highest-paid nonprofit executives, along with the CEOs.

How is the COO different than the CEO? The CEO is responsible for setting the strategic direction and making top-level decisions, while the COO oversees the day-to-day operations and implements the CEO's vision. In a 501(c)(3) charity setting, the CEO and executive directors have additional fundraising responsibilities, which COOs do not have. While the vast majority of nonprofits do not have COOs (or directors of operations) on staff, this analysis found 12,010 that do, typically larger organizations.

Trends in compensation for chief operating officers at nonprofits

Nonprofit COOs earn an average of $199,696 per year in total compensation, including benefits. Half of the COOs at tax-exempt organizations make more than $148,847 per year. The top 5% of nonprofit COOs earn more than $498,773, and the bottom 5% of nonprofit COOs (including Directors of Operations) earn less than $41,816 per year. The highest paid nonprofit COOs earn more than $1M per year, with some well over that amount.

The highest-paid nonprofit COOs (making more than $500,000 per year) tend to work for hospitals, universities, and trade associations. Conversely, the lowest-paid nonprofit COOs (making less than $50,000 per year) tend to work for churches, animal shelters, and humanitarian organizations. What's the difference between these types of organizations? The higher-paid COOs tend to work for larger organizations with more employees and complicated operations. These nonprofits also tend to earn significant revenues from providing program services (e.g., tuition fees, membership dues) versus being reliant on donations and grants. While trade associations may seem like an outlier for highly-paid COOs, they are actually complex entities. Associations must manage the activities of many different organizations within a particular industry, including lobbying, developing industry standards, providing legal assistance, creating educational programs, and dealing with complex federal and state regulatory issues.

The following charts show a breakdown of COO total compensation ranges at nonprofits, and which types of nonprofits pay their COOs more than $500,000 per year.

Nonprofit COO compensation ranges

COO salaryNumber of nonprofit COOs
< $100,000
 
2,734
 
$100,000 to $250,000
 
6,843
 
$250,000 to $500,000
 
1,834
 
$500,000 to $1,000,000
 
472
 
> $1,000,000
 
127
 

Types of nonprofits with COOs making > $500,000 per year

Nonprofit typeNumber of nonprofits w/COOs paid >$500k per year
Trade / professional associations
 
110
 
Universities
 
87
 
Organizations supporting a health care nonprofit
 
80
 
School foundations
 
78
 
Community clinics
 
76
 
Multiservice human service organizations
 
69
 
Cancer organizations
 
68
 
Public health programs
 
59
 
General hospitals
 
53
 
Urban development organizations
 
53
 

The top 50 highest paid nonprofit COOs

  1. Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $6,551,084
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    0.4%
    Revenue
    $2,928,506,457
    Data date
    2021-12
  2. Title
    Past MD - Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer
    Compensation
    $5,585,550
    % Org revenue
    3.8%
    % Org comp
    5.3%
    Revenue
    $147,214,674
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
  3. Tammie Brailsford, MemorialCare
    Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $4,843,966
    % Org revenue
    1.2%
    % Org comp
    3.9%
    Revenue
    $411,780,979
    Data date
    2021-06
  4. Title
    MD - Operations / MD - Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer *
    Compensation
    $4,840,210
    % Org revenue
    3.3%
    % Org comp
    4.6%
    Revenue
    $147,214,674
    Data date
    2020-06
    Location
  5. Robert W Allen, Ihc Health Services
    Title
    Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / Regional Vice President , Park City - Heber Region
    Compensation
    $4,837,304
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $8,708,705,295
    Data date
    2022-12
  6. Karen Hanlon, Highmark Health
    Title
    Executive Vice President Chief Operating Officer / Executive Vice President , Chief Operating Officer / Treasurer and Chief Operating Off. / Executive Vice President , Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer / Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Begin 7.29.15
    Compensation
    $4,354,416
    % Org revenue
    0.9%
    % Org comp
    1.0%
    Revenue
    $492,941,379
    Data date
    2022-12
  7. Leslie C Davis Upm, Upmc Group
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer / Senior Vice President , Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer HSD / Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer HSD
    Compensation
    $4,211,830
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $20,520,943,502
    Data date
    2022-06
    Website
  8. Mark Solazzo, Northwell Healthcare
    Title
    President , Strategic Initiatives
    Compensation
    $3,858,387
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    0.4%
    Revenue
    $2,049,436,022
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  9. Price Ronald E, PGA Tour
    Title
    Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $3,725,738
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    1.7%
    Revenue
    $1,897,747,134
    Data date
    2022-12
  10. Michael Gentry, Sentara Healthcare
    Title
    Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President / Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / Former Officer / Former Officer / Former Officer / Former Officer / Corporate Vice President
    Compensation
    $3,439,169
    % Org revenue
    0.9%
    % Org comp
    2.4%
    Revenue
    $401,206,637
    Data date
    2022-12
  11. James Conforti, Sutter Health
    Title
    SH Senior Vice President , Interim Chief Executive Officer / SH Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / President , SH Valley Area / President , Sac Sierra
    Compensation
    $3,146,253
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    0.3%
    Revenue
    $1,918,502,649
    Data date
    2022-12
  12. Title
    President , Core Operations / President and Chief Operating Officer / Chief Operating Officer of the Year. / Executive Vice President , Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $3,112,770
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $8,211,838,521
    Data date
    2022-12
  13. Dileso Nicholas, Mount Auburn Hospital
    Title
    Past Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $3,054,759
    % Org revenue
    0.8%
    % Org comp
    2.0%
    Revenue
    $361,856,188
    Data date
    2019-09
  14. Robert G Riney, Henry Ford Health
    Title
    Director and President and Chief Executive Officer / President , Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer / Chief Operating Officer and President - Healthcare Operations / Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officerhenry Ford Health System / Senior Vice President and C.o.o. / Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $3,051,952
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $3,987,316,990
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  15. Title
    Chairperson and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $2,957,591
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $6,674,422,433
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  16. Quinn McKenna, Stanford Health Care
    Title
    Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $2,778,936
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $6,664,262,889
    Data date
    2022-08
    Location
  17. Lisa Shannon, Allina Health
    Title
    President and Chief Executive Officer / President and Chief Operating Officer / Executive Vice President , Chief Operating Officer / Executive Vice President , Chief Operating Off.
    Compensation
    $2,730,226
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $5,162,065,945
    Data date
    2022-12
  18. Jamal A Hakim, Orlando Health
    Title
    Senior Vice President , Chief Operating Officer / Chief Operating Officer / Board Member , Interim Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $2,726,526
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.2%
    Revenue
    $3,766,174,849
    Data date
    2022-09
    Location
  19. Title
    Chief Operating Officer Beg 2 and 20 and 18 / Chief Executive Officer - Baptist Hospital of Miami
    Compensation
    $2,701,805
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.5%
    Revenue
    $1,802,830,265
    Data date
    2022-09
  20. Title
    Executive Vice President , Chief Operating Officer / Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer THR 12 and 19;evp , Chief Operating Officer at 1 and 20 / Executive Vice President and Interim Executive Vice President , East Group / Treasurer; Executive Vice President , Chief Financial Officer / Executive Vice President , Chief Financial Officer / Assistant Treas; Treasurer at 4 and 14 , Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
    Compensation
    $2,525,463
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.3%
    Revenue
    $2,491,029,159
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
  21. Michael F Hulefeld, Ochsner Medical Center
    Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $2,507,292
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $4,902,026,766
    Data date
    2021-12
  22. Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / Chief Operating Officer Effective / Chief Operating Officer , / Executive Vice President and Hospital Administrator
    Compensation
    $2,506,489
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $7,251,947,000
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  23. Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / Chief Operating Officer Effective / Chief Operating Officer , Memorial Sloan Kettering
    Compensation
    $2,506,489
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.3%
    Revenue
    $1,846,045,000
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  24. Title
    Chief Operating Officer CRSP
    Compensation
    $2,278,528
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $4,613,831,972
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
  25. Title
    Cfa Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $2,185,186
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    8.8%
    Revenue
    $1,064,200,086
    Data date
    2022-06
    Website
  26. James Benedict, Highmark Health Group
    Title
    Director and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $2,171,632
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $5,213,963,153
    Data date
    2022-12
    Website
  27. Pamela Stoyanoff, Methodist Health System
    Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer ,
    Compensation
    $2,167,338
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.2%
    Revenue
    $1,856,448,774
    Data date
    2022-09
    Location
  28. Title
    Executive Vice President Chief Legal Officer / Executive Vice President , Chief Legal Officer , Operations / Executive Vice President , General Councel , Hospital / Executive Vice President , General Counsel , Hospital
    Compensation
    $2,147,646
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $6,674,422,433
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  29. Wilhelmina M. Manzano, NewYork Presbyterian Hospital
    Title
    Group Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive and Chief Operating Officer for Perioperative Services , Newyork - Presby / Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer / Senior Vice President , Chief Nursing Officer / Senior Vice President , Chief Nursing Executive and Chief Quality Officer
    Compensation
    $2,123,649
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.0%
    Revenue
    $8,916,664,958
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  30. David L Reich, Mount Sinai Hospital
    Title
    Past President and Chief Operating Officer of the Mount Sinai Hospital , President of Mount Sinai Queens , and Horace W Goldsmith PR / President and Chief Operating Officer / Trustee
    Compensation
    $2,105,015
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $3,709,594,465
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  31. Michelle Janney, Indiana University Health
    Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $2,048,091
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $4,969,270,261
    Data date
    2022-12
  32. Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / Executive Vice President and Acute Care Services and Cto
    Compensation
    $2,034,888
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $7,314,063,690
    Data date
    2022-06
    Location
  33. Title
    Chief Operating Officer , Uphs
    Compensation
    $1,997,253
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.0%
    Revenue
    $11,078,595,000
    Data date
    2022-06
    Website
  34. Peacock William, Cleveland Clinic
    Title
    Director , Chief Operating Officer , President - Kma / Director - CC Fla Reg HS , Chief Operating Officer - CCF / Director , Chief Operating Officer - CCF , President - Kma , Lrbi / Trustee , Chief of Operations - CCF / Director and Chief of Operations / Chief of Operations - CCF
    Compensation
    $1,991,299
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.0%
    Revenue
    $13,520,304,842
    Data date
    2022-12
  35. Title
    Chief of Operations
    Compensation
    $1,991,299
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.0%
    Revenue
    $7,583,607,049
    Data date
    2022-12
  36. Michael W Gough, Norton Healthcare
    Title
    Foundation Board / Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer / Executive Vice President and Chief Finance Officer / System Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer / Sys Senior Vice President Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
    Compensation
    $1,967,687
    % Org revenue
    0.3%
    % Org comp
    0.8%
    Revenue
    $569,215,201
    Data date
    2022-12
  37. Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer - St Anthony Hospital / Ef Executive Officer - St Anthony Hospital
    Compensation
    $1,966,876
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    0.3%
    Revenue
    $2,473,879,938
    Data date
    2022-06
  38. Sim Edward, Centura Health
    Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $1,966,876
    % Org revenue
    0.4%
    % Org comp
    0.7%
    Revenue
    $513,095,638
    Data date
    2022-06
  39. Dane Peterson, Emory University
    Title
    President Chief Operating Officer - Ehc
    Compensation
    $1,913,250
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $6,366,155,640
    Data date
    2022-08
    Location
    Website
  40. Rebecca Kuhn, Banner Health
    Title
    Chief Operating Officer / Executive Vice President , Community Delivery / Executive Vice President , Community Development / President - Az East Region
    Compensation
    $1,881,846
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.0%
    Revenue
    $8,495,325,836
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  41. Title
    Chief Administration Officer / Chief Operating Officer / Chief Marketing , Communications , Strategic Planning and Human Resource Officer , / Chief Strategy , Marketing , Comm , Human Resources Off. / Chief Marketing , Strategy , and Comm Officer / Chief Marketing , Communications , Strategic Planning and Human Resource Officer / Chief Marketing , Strategy , and Comm.
    Compensation
    $1,827,121
    % Org revenue
    0.5%
    % Org comp
    1.8%
    Revenue
    $357,359,759
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  42. John Porter, WellSpan Health
    Title
    Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $1,826,703
    % Org revenue
    0.4%
    % Org comp
    0.5%
    Revenue
    $496,747,136
    Data date
    2021-06
    Location
  43. Jessie T Shepherd, Gwinnett Hospital System
    Title
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $1,823,315
    % Org revenue
    0.2%
    % Org comp
    0.5%
    Revenue
    $751,912,005
    Data date
    2019-08
    Location
  44. Vamsi Chadalavada, ISO New England
    Title
    Board Member
    Compensation
    $1,803,255
    % Org revenue
    0.9%
    % Org comp
    1.4%
    Revenue
    $210,813,398
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
    Website
  45. Title
    System Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $1,785,825
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.1%
    Revenue
    $3,703,027,563
    Data date
    2022-08
  46. Title
    Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $1,761,612
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    2.4%
    Revenue
    $1,224,314,780
    Data date
    2021-08
    Website
  47. Jeffrey Drop, CHI Lakewood Health
    Title
    Board Member and Senior Vice President - Operations - Chief Executive Officer
    Compensation
    $1,660,666
    % Org revenue
    10.6%
    % Org comp
    18.5%
    Revenue
    $15,666,121
    Data date
    2020-06
    Location
  48. Title
    Executive Vice President , Chief Operating Officer / Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer / Executive Vice President - Chief Operating Officer
    Compensation
    $1,535,400
    % Org revenue
    0.1%
    % Org comp
    1.8%
    Revenue
    $1,572,271,176
    Data date
    2022-12
    Location
  49. Cheryl A Moore, New York Genome Center
    Title
    President and Chief Operating Officer - Eff 1 and 11 and 16
    Compensation
    $646,874
    % Org revenue
    1.0%
    % Org comp
    2.2%
    Revenue
    $67,901,686
    Data date
    2021-12
    Location
  50. Gostout Bobbie S, Mayo Clinic Group Return
    Title
    Director and Vice President Operations and President MCHS and Former Officer / Director and Vice Chair and Vice President Operations and Interim Reg Vice President - Semn / Director and Vice Chair and Vice President Operations / Director and Vice President Operations and Vice Chair
    Compensation
    $438,241
    % Org revenue
    0.0%
    % Org comp
    0.0%
    Revenue
    $12,568,376,619
    Data date
    2021-12

Methodology

Cause IQ digitizes and cleans electronic and paper / scanned Form 990s for over 1.8 million IRS-registered tax-exempt organizations. In this article, we looked at personnel who were the COOs and Directors of Operations, eliminating people who no longer work at their nonprofits, only worked a partial year at the nonprofit in the most recent Form 990, worked less than 30 hours a week at the nonprofit, or earned less than $5,000 per year (indicating an atypical staffing situation). This resulted in a list of 12,010 COOs and Directors of Operations. The compensation figures, unless otherwise noted, are for total compensation, which we calculate by adding Form 990, Part VII, Columns D, E, and F.

Article originally published on February 2, 2023.

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