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Matching Compensation to Growth in the Non-Profit Sector


Lunch Break is a non-profit organization started in 1983 as a small soup kitchen by Norma Todd, a woman with a vision to feed the hungry in Red Bank, NJ.

Thanks to the support of individual donors, foundations, corporate, and business communities, Lunch Break has since evolved into an organization of 30 salaried employees, a network of more than 2,000 volunteers, and a larger mandate to provide food, clothing, life skills, and fellowship to those in need in all of Monmouth County and beyond.

As Lunch Break grew, leadership’s challenge was to keep employee compensation competitive. The organization needed to attract the best talent while retaining those already in the fold.


The D.G. McDermott Associates (DGM) team initiated a market analysis to determine salaries at comparable charitable organizations in the area.

Perhaps more importantly, they interviewed every employee of Lunch Break to fully understand their roles and thoughts about their paths to growth. They involved the employees every step of the way with a surprising degree of empowerment and transparency that earned everyone’s trust.


Based on its findings, DGM developed a new compensation structure with updated job descriptions, salaries, and a list of next steps, all shared with the staff.


Lunch Break identified those employees for whom compensation was below market value and took action to ensure they stayed on board. Further, they could present themselves in the market as a good, competitive opportunity for those seeking a meaningful non-profit career.

DGM “put structure and science behind how we evaluate, recognize, promote, and pay our employees so we can ensure we retain them and provide a path for growth,” said Lunch Break Executive Director, Gwendolyn Love.

Learn more about our compensation consulting and organization design services.