Are bonuses ever ok in global development work?

By Jennifer Ehidiamen 06 March 2017

Cash from a white envelope. Photo by: / CC BY-SA

In the global development community, especially within nongovernmental organizations, it is uncommon to pay bonuses. It is often frowned upon, especially when it comes in bloated forms.

For instance, last year, International Relief and Development was suspended from receiving federal funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Although the suspension was later overturned, the exposed lavish salaries and bonuses that IRD paid its executives raised the legal and ethical question of whether or not bonuses should be paid.

Devex talked with experts in human resource management to get their views on this issue.

Why some NGOs don’t pay bonuses

Lack of funds is one reason why some nonprofit organizations and development agencies do not pay bonuses. A source at the United Nations Population Fund explained to Devex, “We currently do not do salary bonuses in our work as we are under a bit of a financial crunch.”

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About the author

Ehidiamen jennifer
Jennifer Ehidiamendisgeneration

Jennifer Ehidiamen is a Nigerian writer who is passionate about communications and journalism. She has worked as a reporter and communications consultant for different organizations in Nigeria and overseas. She has an undergraduate degree in mass communication from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, and M.A. in business and economics from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York. In 2014, she founded Rural Reporters ( with the goal of amplifying underreported news and issues affecting rural communities.

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