Our Approach to Executive Compensation

All our staff, including our senior leaders, serve with World Vision because they are committed to our mission and values. Their alignment with our values means they do not expect to be paid the same as at other businesses or industries. Being part of a charitable organization like World Vision that seeks to make a difference in the world brings its own special benefits.

However, we do want to recruit top-quality staff members so we can do the most effective work on behalf of children worldwide. Appropriate compensation is one part of attracting these people. When we set staff salaries, especially for our managers and leaders, we try hard to balance the need to attract and retain quality staff with our commitment to careful stewardship of donations and expectations for the use of these funds. Our donors expect us to keep our administrative costs as low as possible, and World Vision is committed to doing that. We are pleased to report that over the past five years, an average of 80.5% of all revenue went to programs that fight poverty and help children and communities in need.

We regularly review the compensation levels of our senior staff to ensure they are within reasonable rates for the level of skill, knowledge and experience required for their roles. We have a comprehensive policy in place to help us determine appropriate and fair compensation levels for a not-for-profit environment. The compensation policy is overseen by our volunteer Board of Directors, none of whom are members of management.

Our management and executive-level position roles are paid well below industry standards for roles that require the same skills, experience and education level. This is a result of our desire to be good stewards with the funds entrusted to us by donors and to ensure as much money as possible goes to programs to help children and families suffering from poverty and injustice. We feel this achieves our goal of providing fair pay to staff while at the same time reflecting our commitment to serve people facing poverty and injustice.

World Vision Canada’s overall policy is to match salaries for non-management positions to the average in our local market. For senior staff, we increasingly discount salaries below this market average. In recent years, salaries for director-level roles have been discounted by at least 10% when compared to market average for similar roles, while vice-president positions have been discounted by at least 15%. Our president earns at least 25% below the market average.

In our annual report to the Canada Revenue Agency, we publicly disclose information about executive compensation. In the interest of greater transparency to our donors, we have gone beyond our legal requirements by disclosing that our president, Michael Messenger, currently earns the top annual base salary of $215,000 plus a combination of taxable and non-taxable benefits. The president’s performance is subject to annual review by our Board of Directors, and his compensation is decided by them.

It is important to note that the figure we report to Canada Revenue Agency for the Registered Charity Information Return (T3010) is higher than the president’s base salary because the reports requires additional categories, including taxable and non-taxable employer contributions to benefits such as company pension plan, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, group insurance, car allowance, life insurance and other benefits. When all of those are included, the president’s compensation is shown within the T3010’s category of $200,000-$249,000.

We invite donors to review our annual report, including our audited financial statements, for more information on how we express our commitment to careful use of our funds to support our ministry for children around the world.