Nonprofits across the United States recognize that providing robust benefits, especially medical benefits, plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining key talent. Funding such packages, however, remains a challenge for organizations with limited access to capital. Similar to employers in the private industry, nonprofit organizations appear to be continuing cost saving strategies by shifting more expenses on to the employees.

The fifteenth annual Benefits in Nonprofit Organizations Survey, released on July 1, 2015, reports that nonprofits are paying approximately 68-78% of the total premium cost of medical coverage, on par with 2014 levels but substantially lower than employer contributions in 2012 (87%).

In addition to a strong focus on medical, prescription, and dental costs, the survey also reports data on life and disability insurance, retirement plan practices, paid leave, and other benefits.  Some highlights include the following:

  • Preferred Provider Organization plans remain the most prevalent type of medical benefits delivery in 2015.
  • At least one dental plan is offered to employees in 96% of responding organizations.
  • Eighty-nine percent of respondents offer vision benefits. Of those organizations, 43 % offer vision as part of the medical plan.
  • Ninety-eight percent of responding organizations offer some form of retirement plan to employees.

Questionnaires for the Benefits in Nonprofit Organization Survey were designed and distributed in October 2014. Submissions were collected until March 2015, with an effective date of benefits as of January 1, 2015. Data for 89 medical plans covering over 15,600 employees were reported in the 2015 sample. Fifty-six dental plans were also reported. Data cuts are provided by type of nonprofit organization, organization size (by number of employees), organizational scope, and geographic region. Results may be purchased for $489 via

A companion benefit report published in April 2015, the Health Care Benefits Benchmarking Survey, which includes nonprofit organizations, government entities, and for-profit organizations (private and publicly traded), is also available online through ERI Salary Surveys.