Getting the most out of your non-profit salary

Last week I attended the You Too Social Media Boot Camp at Kent State. If you didn’t go,youtoo.jpg you missed a really great day for both PR practitioners and Kent State.

While I was there, I ran into one of my “readers” (can you believe it?). We talked a bit about the blog and she asked if I’d ever talk about how to negotiate a salary at a non-profit. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it, but it is definitely a topic I need to learn more about myself as well.

In an effort to help at least one reader, here is what I’ve found.

It’s important to remember it’s not likely that you can “fix” your salary after you’re hired. Non-profits have few chances for promotion and raises are incremental and dependent on how the organization’s budget stands. Your quality of work and skill set don’t change when you move into a non-profit, so you should get what you’re worth. Here are some tips I found to get the most out of your non-profit salary.

Most importantly you have to do your research. You never want to go into a negotiationtre05144.jpg blind. There are three major categories you must have all the facts on before you are even offered a position. First, know your own needs. How much do you need to maintain your lifestyle or move up to a new stage? Are you willing to have a lower salary with better benefits? It is necessary for you to completely assess your financial situation.

Secondly, know the marketplace. What salaries are similar positions earning in the field? is a great place to begin this search and compare what people are making in the non-profit field throughout the country.

Finally, know the organization. What is its overall budget? What are other positions earning within the company? You can begin this type of research at


After research the most important tactic is to stall. You don’t want to bring salary up right away and if possible don’t talk about it at all in the first interview. If a potential employer asks you about your expected salary range, don’t give in too quickly. The Nonprofit Jobs Cooperative offers some great stalling examples for this situation.

Also, you should never accept a position on the spot. It’s best to consider it for at least 24 hours. The extra time will give you a chance to weigh the pros and cons and help give you an edge to push for what you know you’re worth.

Overall, you must do your homework and don’t back down without a fight. Remember, we’re worth it!


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