Salary Negotiation Tips: Monetizing Without ”Dollar-izing”

How to talk money at an interview with a nonprofit.

By Jack Chapman

artSalaryEditor’s note: Salary expert Jack Chapman and Ladders want to help you negotiate the best deal you can. You can  e-mail us your salary negotiation questions or situations  or use #salaryQ to submit them via Twitter. Due to the volume of inquiries, we may not be able to respond to all questions submitted.

Q: I am currently the vice-president of a non-profit earning $62K a year plus good benefits. I am also a candidate for two similar positions with two other not-for-profits. Both probably pay between $100K & $150K. How should I discuss my previous salary, which I have successfully avoided thus far (but it is public record, so only a matter of time). What strategy do I need to get up at the high end of the range? I fear being possibly perceived as a less experienced candidate.

A: No need to worry any more about disclosing current earnings; you can’t stop them from finding out, so you might as well tell them when it naturally comes up again. Regarding ending up at the high end, you need to monetize the experience you bring to this venture — and sometimes monetizing is not “dollar-izing” because in the case of not-for-profit it’s number of kids cured, or number of trees saved, etc., not how may dollars in the checking account. But while the accomplishments won’t be money, they can be expressed as money, or some other measure of value. If you postpone any real serious salary talk until they’ve chosen you, then you have the most leverage to get the highest salary. If ‘you go first’ with a higher number once you are ready to talk money, that will usually pull your compensation up as much or more as your [lower] last salary brought it down.

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