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Salary Survey 2023 reveals board secrets

1 August 2023 at 5:20 am
Danielle Kutchel
How much work do for-purpose boards do? The results of the 2023 Salary Survey shed some light.

Danielle Kutchel | 1 August 2023 at 5:20 am


Salary Survey 2023 reveals board secrets
1 August 2023 at 5:20 am


To those outside the boardroom, boards can seem mysterious, filled with figures rarely seen or directly heard from. But that couldn’t be further from the truth; boards play a significant role in the operation of for-purpose organisations, one that impacts directly on staff, volunteers, mission, and ultimately, success.


According to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, boards are responsible for supervising not for profits in business performance, and compliance performance. The unique nature of the sector means they may face some challenges specific to the sector, including around sources of funding and how to measure the organisation’s success.


This year’s Salary Survey reveals key details about the activities of boards in the Australian for-purpose sector. This includes how boards are remunerated for their time. According to our results, around 16 per cent of board members receive a fee for their service, and another 16 per cent receive access to events. 


The vast majority of directors on for-purpose boards do not get paid, working instead voluntarily to support the purpose of the organisation. The non-monetary benefits of sitting on a board can be varied and numerous. Access to events, building your networks and being part of something meaningful are just a few.  


“I have sat on many many boards over my  three decades of working life. Each of them has delivered great pleasure since I’ve been invested in their purpose and success and without fail each of them has delivered challenges which have caused me to reflect and grow in the board director role” said Karen Mahlab Founder of Pro Bono Australia.


The survey also reveals just how many hours board members devote each month to working on board matters and attending board meetings for their organisation. Sitting on a board can involve quite intense work; directors are typically recruited to the position for their skills in particular areas relevant to the organisation’s mission, or to leadership more generally, like finance. They’re expected to meet multiple times a year and ahead of each meeting will prepare by reviewing company documents, progress and management.


See the full 2023 Salary Survey here to see what the norm for board directors time commitment is across the for purpose sector.

Danielle Kutchel  |  @ProBonoNews

Danielle is a journalist specialising in disability and CALD issues, and social justice reporting. Reach her on or on Twitter @D_Kutchel.


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