I work for Samaritan’s Purse. It’s not too long after telling someone this that they’ll comment about Franklin Graham’s supposed excessive salary, often incorrectly stating that he’s the highest paid nonprofit CEO. Never mind that the CEOs for The United Way, Goodwill, March of Dimes, American Red Cross, American Jewish Committee, American Cancer Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund, World Vision and countless others earn more. Not to mention, or maybe I will mention that many of these organizations have considerably lower efficiency and accountability scores.
Let me step on my soapbox for a little bit….
The media has a tendency to act like a hit squad, especially liberal media. Ganging up and viciously attacking those that they deem too conservative, too Christian, or those that simply don’t pander to liberal groups. In reality, liberal media is totally and completely comfortable standing in the midst of hypocrisy. The Obama Administration can give millions of taxpayer dollars to a “green” company that tanks and a liberal newspaper like the Charlotte Observer won’t bother writing about it. However, when a CEO of a nonprofit creates an environment of rapid growth year after year for an organization, his pay frequently comes under fire. I’m talking about Franklin Graham.
Let me tell you the one reason why Franklin Graham deserves to be paid at least 10 times more than he’s currently making. Because he brings in way more than 10 times what he’s currently making. Pretty simple, huh?
How many international relief CEOs get nonstop airtime on major news networks? How many projects show up on Good Morning America or are endorsed by Duck Dynasty or Veggie Tales? Did an employee of your international relief organization show up on the cover of Time magazine last year? The fact of the matter is, you probably can’t even name the CEO of another international relief organization, yet you can name Franklin Graham. How much is this media exposure worth? How many millions of dollars do organizations pay for the type of exposure that he can command simply because of who he is? His exposure alone is worth considerably more than his current salary. And I’m not even talking about his tremendous leadership capacity, his ability to connect with donors, inspire others, or his ability to hire great people. Let me tell you this about Franklin Graham, he’s not afraid to speak his mind and he won’t leave a man behind. These things are hard to measure, but what we can quantify is what he brings to the table in terms of social media exposure, which is big business nowadays.
Let’s take a look at Facebook Fan Page likes, Instagram followers, and Twitter followers combined.
Oxfam America: 419K – The CEO earns $457K/year.
Children International: 75K – The CEO makes $502k/year.
The Charlotte Observer: 177K
US Fund for UNICEF: 1M
Franklin Graham: 4.07M
The media loves to highlight organizations like the UNICEF. Who doesn’t love how UNICEF strives to take care of children? Did you know there’s a US Fund for UNICEF headquartered in the US and filing Form 990’s here? Their CEO is Caryl Stearn and she earns $519k/year (which is more than Franklin Graham at Samaritan’s Purse, according to Charity Navigator). Also, the US Fund for UNICEF is about the same size as Samaritan’s Purse, although they do have a significantly lower accountability score.
I’m not arguing that these CEOs are overcompensated, on the contrary, The US Fund for UNICEF has grown significantly under Carl Stearn’s leadership. She deserves her salary. What I’m arguing is that liberal media outlets choose to focus on Franklin Graham because he’s unapologetic in his faith. They attack him only because of his beliefs, not because his compensation is anything out of the ordinary.
In this case, Franklin Graham is bringing tremendous media value to Samaritan’s Purse. This is a unique case, and still, his salary is often lower than other nonprofit CEOs, all this while leading Samaritan’s Purse to record growth year after year.
And concerning the Charlotte Observer, they have their own troubles, like deliberately ignoring the fact that the individual pushing for gender neutral bathrooms in Charlotte is a convicted sex offender, or their rapidly declining readership in a declining industry. I wonder what their revenues are and how much their CEO makes…..