Nonprofit jobs can be very satisfying but often pay less than the for profit marketplace, and their employees usually work very hard to fulfill their organization’s mission. Here are a few negotiating tips to keep in mind as you accept a job offer from a nonprofit that can ensure that both you and your future bosses are happy.
Keep in mind that most nonprofits have a pretty strict budget that they’re working within and it’s likely that they had to fight pretty hard to even get those funds for this position in the first place. Make life easier for yourself by asking if they’d be willing to share the salary range from the position. Obviously, not on the first interview, but at some point it’s helpful to ask the question to ensure you both are in the same ballpark. We’ve worked with nonprofits in the past that have not revealed their salary range on a hiring, only to find out that the offer they made to the candidate was not only in another ballpark from what the candidate had previously been making, but it was in the wrong sport.
Another thing to keep front of mind is the idea that compensation is more than just your salary – it’s your entire package of benefits, and this is where nonprofits tend to have more flexibility. Want flex hours or to telecommute on Fridays? A nonprofit is generally more likely to be open to this idea. Three weeks of paid vacation instead of two? That’s much easier for a nonprofit manager to agree on because those costs hit their balance sheets in a different place than the salary line item. Reminder that each point is negotiable on its own and you should prioritize what is not only most important to you, but what you think they can realistically accommodate without appearing difficult.
The number one thing we can suggest you do to make your offer more appealing for you is to negotiate your title. While there isn’t always flexibility on the title due to bureaucracy or keeping peace in the family, as one former colleague used to refer to it, often times there is. This is also a free way for a manager to make a future employee happy without spending additional money on them. Be reasonable in your requests, perhaps suggest ‘Associate’ instead of ‘Assistant’ or ‘Manager’ instead of ‘Coordinator’ to elevate the position, signal your interest in filling a more senior role, and willingness to work with your manager on this planned growth.
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