In Pagan institutions, we tend to be even more suspicious of the use of our funds. The Pagan movement grew out of the anti-establishment movement. "Establishment" to these activists was not simply the people of the older generation, but the existing power structure in society; the dominant groups in society and their customs or institutions; institutional authority; and those who formed the “ruling class.” In other words, those who had control of the money. Is it any wonder then, that Pagan communities today share an inherent distrust of money, or those organizations, individuals, or leaders who ask for it in return for their goods and services?
Yet, there is a growing movement among the Pagan community to change that mindset, particularly among the newer generations of Pagans. It is understood that there is a desire among our leaders to give the appearance of protecting the common good and that many factors have combined to create pressures on our leaders to provide accountability, especially in the area of compensation. We feel this is a good thing. Accountability is absolutely necessary. However, we also feel that the time, energy, knowledge and experience of our leaders is valuable and that too many of our elders, leaders and organizations are not being fairly compensated for their work.
This has been true of religious organizations from all denominations, not just Pagan ones, as much as any other. To alleviate concerns about leaders or organizations not being honest about the use of funds there has to be accountability, and there are ways to do that. Some other organizations have already done this work for us, we don't have to reinvent the wheel.
In response, the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations, sponsored by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, issued “Enhancing Accountability for the Religious and Broader Nonprofit Sector.”
“Enhancing Accountability” offers six recommendations for religious and charitable organizations. They are:
- Regardless of the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and related regulations, the governing bodies of nonprofit organizations should ensure that the compensation (including benefits) paid to leaders is clearly reasonable under the circumstances.
- Nonprofit organizations should adopt appropriately robust policies that provide clear and practical guidance for establishing reasonable compensation for leaders, properly address conflicts of interest and guide them in avoiding making excess benefit transactions.
- When a nonprofit engages a compensation consultant to assist in obtaining appropriate data as to comparability for executive compensation, the members of the body should exercise prudence and diligence that the data is for similarly situated organizations.
- Nonprofits should require that total compensation of their top paid leader is disclosed to or approved by the governing body of the organization.
- One or more independent organizations should conduct compensation surveys of the largest exempt religious organizations.
There you have it! A universally acceptable way to create policies for the compensation of the leaders of your organization. Its time to stop treating money like the bad guy. We won't have a good relationship with money until we learn how to treat money like the tool it is. It can be used for good or it can be used for bad, the difference is in who's hands it is wielded. The responsibility for accountability is ours.