Our finances and pay


2010/11 £10,140,000 £9,781,000
2011/12 £7,393,000 £7,078,000
2012/13 £8,939,000 £8,280,000
2013/14 £9,588,000 £8,868,000
2014/15 £10,365,000 £8,920,000
2015/16 £9,334,000 £9,513,000

NCVO’s income comes from three main sources.

  • Our members, who pay an annual membership fee (unless their income is under £30,000)
  • Our services, including our conference venue
  • Charities Aid Foundation, a charity established by NCVO which helps bring charities and donors together


NCVO employs just over 100 staff. Salaries for the senior management team — the chief executive and directors — are set and reviewed annually by our human resources and remuneration committee, a sub-committee of our board of trustees. The committee includes specialists with significant pay expertise and knowledge, especially of the charity sector.

All other staff salaries are set by the senior management team. They are arranged in organisation-wide pay bands, using comparisons with charities of our size in London, and taking into account factors including inflation and NCVO’s financial position. Salaries are openly stated in job adverts.

Our approach to pay

NCVO is ambitious for the voluntary sector and we believe in recruiting high-calibre people to represent its interests. We also believe in rewarding staff fairly for the jobs that they do and in fostering a positive working environment; we believe our salaries and our terms and conditions reflect this. NCVO is a Living Wage-accredited employer, meaning all our staff and contractors are paid at least the Living Wage/London Living Wage.

We believe in creating routes into the voluntary sector for people who cannot afford to undertake unpaid ‘internships’. NCVO has established paid traineeships which provide people with the training and skills they need to establish successful careers, while rewarding them fairly for their work.

People are employed at NCVO on the basis of the specific skills and experience that they bring to their particular role. For NCVO to run successfully, a large range of knowledge, skills, experience and professional qualifications are required; we need to pay appropriately to ensure that we can recruit people with the right skills.

NCVO firmly believes in trying to retain staff for the long-term, developing them and benefiting from their growing knowledge. We need to retain staff in a competitive market where, not least as a result of NCVO's cross-cutting role, skills are readily transferable to other organisations both in the voluntary sector and in other sectors.

Recruiting staff can be disruptive and expensive, especially as many of our staff have detailed knowledge that is unique to them in the organisation and could not be quickly replaced. There is a balance to be struck as we also recognise that we are a small organisation and accept that some staff will leave when they inevitably out-grow us. Our staff pay scales are set with these factors in mind.

Senior management pay

NCVO's unique position in representing the whole of the voluntary sector means that the chief executive and other members of the senior management team require a breadth and depth of expertise which requires drawing from the best senior level talent in a competitive market.

They need to be able to command the respect of their peers among our members, from the smallest to the very largest charities, through their experience and their credibility. At the same time, we seek to keep salary costs under control and champion transparency in relation to senior pay.


Both senior management team and staff pay levels are reviewed annually.

Senior management team pay is determined by the HR and remuneration committee. Their aim is to benchmark our senior management team salaries around the 25th centile, ie the lower end, of larger national charities' pay levels, with a 7.5% tolerance.

We believe this comparison with national charities reflects the nature of the skills that we need to recruit and retain.

Staff pay is reviewed by the senior management team and negotiated on behalf of staff by NCVO’s recognised union, Unite. Our aim is to pay at the 75th centile, ie the higher end, compared to organisations of our size in terms of income and number of employees in the voluntary sector in London.

The same benefits, including pensions, and terms and conditions apply to the chief executive and directors as all other staff.

We don’t apply any form of performance-related pay, nor do we have a bonus scheme. We don’t apply increments to staff salaries beyond one automatic increment after the first 12 months of service.

Each year the chief executive and directors participate in performance appraisal, as part of the same feedback and appraisal scheme operated for all NCVO staff. In the case of the chief executive, this includes seeking detailed feedback from board members, colleagues and external contacts.

Current senior pay levels

NameTitleAnnual salary, 2016/17Pension contributions, 2016/17Total remuneration, 2016/17 (1)Annual salary, 2017/18
Sir Stuart Etherington Chief Executive £135,909 £0 £135,909 £138,627
Karl Wilding Director of Public Policy £86,389 £7,343 £93,732 £88,117
Richard Williams Director of Enterprise £86,389 £7,343 £93,732 £88,117
Susan Cordingley Director of Planning and Resources £86,389 £7,343 £93,732 £88,117
  1. Total remuneration figures are salary plus pension contributions. Senior management team members, like all NCVO staff, are also entitled to other benefits, such as childcare vouchers, which have not been included here.

Details of expenses for the senior management team are available in our annual report.

Pay ratio

The ratio of our highest salary (£138,627) to our median salary (£36,414) is 3:8:1.

Pay awards

While they are separately determined, annual pay awards for the chief executive, directors and staff have always been at the same percentage level.

Since 2011, both the senior management team and staff have received an annual 2% pay award.

More details on NCVO’s finances and operations are available in our annual reports, which set out in detail what we have done to achieve our aims.

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