We are reconsidering our foundation’s policy on board compensation. What is common among Exponent Philanthropy members?

Although most foundations choose to not compensate board members for routine board service—creating or revising foundation policies, overseeing foundation operations, attending board meetings, and more—one size does not fit all. For some small foundations, culture and assumptions, or specific strategies and rationales, lead the board to compensate its members.

Our just-released 2018 Foundation Operations and Management Report shows that just under one-third (32%) of foundations compensate board members for routine board and committee service distinct from any compensation for advisory or staff services. Foundations with more assets are more likely to compensate board members, as are non-family foundations.

Among foundations that compensate board members, 47% pay an annual fee, 36% pay per board meeting, and 17% compensate using a combination of annual and per-meeting fees. About one in six foundations (16%) compensate extra for committee meetings.

More than three-fourths (76%) of foundations reimburse board members for expenses incurred while on foundation business (e.g., travel, hotel accommodations, meals).

For more on this topic, see Board Compensation: What Is the Right Answer for Your Foundation?

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