Detailed Salary Benchmarking

aid to the church in need

"Our relationship with Action Planning goes back many years and during my time here we have worked together on a number of projects. Outsourcing and having Hayley assigned to our benchmarking exercise again this year has saved a lot of time. The fact that she is familiar with our organisation and the individual roles, and knowing she will conduct the exercise in a professional and timely manner, offers great peace of mind."


Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is a Pontifical Foundation of the Catholic Church, supporting the Catholic faithful and other Christians where they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. Each year the charity funds over 5,000 projects in more than 140 countries around the world. Action Planning has worked with ACN for many years, providing consultancy on time management, strategic planning and senior recruitment, among other things. 
Two years ago we were asked if we could take over the task of salary benchmarking, which was placing a heavy burden on the already very busy Head of HR, Portia Borrett. We have now been asked to carry out the process every two years.

The benchmarking exercise is required to give assurance to the Board that ACN is paying the going rate for every role within the organisation, whether the National Director or the cleaner. The benchmarks need to be well matched to the existing roles, in terms of the job title, the intricacies of the role, geographical location and other such variables. Three comparable examples are required for each position.

Action Planning consultant Hayley McDonald undertook this exercise. Hayley is very experienced in recruitment and salary benchmarking within the charity sector and has a tenacious determination to find good matches for every job she’s presented with. The skill lies in knowing where to look and the search criteria to use online to narrow down the investigation to pertinent examples. 
Since her first benchmarking exercise for ACN two years ago, Hayley has developed a deep understanding of the charity and the nuances of its different roles. This enables her to find very accurate matches in the job market. Hayley’s reports are presented in a spreadsheet, with screenshots of three comparable examples for each role that have come up within the last year.

Hayley’s report was submitted ahead of the deadline and, of the 114 examples matching 39 different jobs, only three required further investigation.

Consultant’s insight:
Salaries are always a sensitive issue and it can be very difficult for Boards to know whether they are paying too much (which is not good stewardship of donors’ money) or too little (which can mean that the charity can’t recruit people with the necessary level of skills). Benchmarking can be challenging because no two charities, and no two jobs, are exactly the same, but our process, which is carried out in ‘real time’ rather than relying on potentially dated reports, means that Trustees can have confidence in the data and review salary levels in the light of objective information, rather than subjective feelings.

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