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Samantha Ganser

Samantha Ganser

Samantha Ganser is a spirited nonprofit professional with experience in communications and fundraising for small to top 100 nonprofits, international NGO’s, and social entrepreneurs. She loves connecting with people, music, spending time in nature, and being alive. Sam aspires that through her work, she’ll make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Negotiating a Nonprofit Job Offer

Here are 5 surefire tips and tricks for ensuring that your value is recognized in your next nonprofit job offer.

Prepare a justification for your salary request. 

Know your worth as a fundraiser. GuideStar and the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ compensation surveys are reliable data sources for benchmarking what others are making in similar roles in your region. You can also surf Indeed and Glassdoor or speak to other professionals in similar positions to the one you are considering for perspective on what you should expect to be making.  

Genuinely try to understand the nonprofit’s constraints.

You must tread the waters of negotiation carefully. If you point to recent increases in revenue that might permit you to receive a higher salary, do so with humility and respect. And remember – a nonprofit may love you but may still be unable to meet your salary expectations for myriad reasons.  

In cases where your salary isn’t flexible, consider asking for flexibility in other areas such as vacation time, start dates, or signing bonuses. If, at the end of the day, your gut is telling you the employer’s offer is still not enough, have the courage to walk away with dignity and respect.    

Don’t play too hard to get.  

If you’re negotiating the terms of an offer with a nonprofit, make sure they can trust that you’re serious about working for them. It’s tempting to remind a nonprofit of how “wanted” you are in the field and how many other potential employers have offered you positions. But if the nonprofit feels they’re not going to “get you,” despite their efforts to meet your requirements, they may think “Why bother trying?”  

Consider the whole package. 

Avoid fixating on money! There are many more aspects of a job offer that can bring you happiness besides your salary. Would it improve your productivity to work remotely a few days a week? Are you interested in more vacation time, paid travel, or a paid course that will teach you relevant skills? Remember to ask for these changes in your offer up front. If employers have to wade back and forth to meet your needs, their sense of generosity and patience may dwindle.      

Plan for future negotiations. 

Your nonprofit may be incapable of offering you a higher salary now, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be unable to in the future. Consider negotiating a series of performance-based salary increases to go into effect after you meet upcoming goals. You might request that if you’re able to raise X amount of dollars in your first two quarters of employment, you should be compensated in some form for doing so. Once the nonprofit is on board for this kind of negotiation, get it in writing. Ask the employer to add a clause to your contract to ensure you receive what has been promised.  


By the Numbers

Consider the recruitment opportunities for your organization that these stats indicate:

  • About 63 million Americans (25% of the adult population) volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
  • These people spend an average of 52 hours/year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3% are involved with two.

Random interesting stats presented monthly from various sources.