Association Executives Clean Up in the District

Article excerpt

There's good money to be made in the association business - and that's especially true in the District, according to a new survey.

Out of 115 association positions surveyed, 90 pay more if the group is located in the District than in Northern Virginia or Maryland, according to the recently released 1997 Salary Survey of Nonprofit Organizations by Cordom Associates, a Washington human-resources consulting firm.

The survey also found that the best-performing association executives averaged a 6.4 percent raise last year.

Overall, associations raised salaries by 4.1 percent last year. Slightly more than half of the organizations surveyed have some sort of bonus system in place, most of which goes to professional staff.

Reflecting the local shortage of qualified high-tech workers, computer-related positions got some of the biggest boosts in pay. Salaries jumped 14.2 percent for programmer analysts, 13.2 percent for systems analysts, 16.7 percent for computer service managers, 23.7 percent for computer operation managers and 19.8 percent for computer system managers.

"There is a national need for people with these technical skills and the industry recognizes a need to hold on to these people, so the pay raises are above average to retain these people," said Damon Cordom, managing director. He added a Web specialist category in the survey due to the large number of associations adding that position to their staffs. The average salary of a Web specialist was $55,372.

Economic policy directors also raked in big raises, with an average salary increase of 38.7 percent. On the other hand, pay for association attorneys and lobbyists dropped by 9.3 percent and 8.6 percent respectively.

Mr. Cordom couldn't explain the drop in salary for staff attorneys. But one trend in association management has been a move away from hiring in-house attorneys. Instead, many nonprofits have been retaining law firms to consult on legal matters.

Here's what association executives average, according to the survey:

* Executive director: $193,390

* Deputy executive director: $124,933

* Communications director: $89,163

* Legal affairs director: $120,402

* Member programs director: $74,063

* Convention/meeting planner: $80,222

* Finance director: $89,281

* Government relations director: $108,875

* Education director: $81,189

* Information systems manager: $86,912

* Human resources director: $76,012

* Development director: $84,963

* Economic policy director: $132,968

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