Fundraising Career Quandary: How can I ask for a pay rise?

Published: 19 Apr 2016

Tony Bennett, recruitment sales manager for Third Sector Jobs, answers a fundraising professional’s dilemma about asking for a salary increase.


Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett


Question: I work in a corporate fundraising team for a large charity, I feel like I’m due a pay rise but don’t know how best to approach my boss about this. Do you have any tips?

Tony Bennett says...

To start with, before you arrange a meeting with your boss, make sure you prepare thoroughly so you’re armed with all the tools you need. Some key considerations you need to make include: what successes have you had on the accounts you have managed over the last 12 months? What new business have you won or what successful pitches have you been involved in? Any positive feedback or testimonials from clients that you can mention will also be useful.

Secondly, have a look at industry job boards such as Third Sector Jobs to see what similar charities are paying with your level of experience. You can also search online for charity salary surveys. If you’re already being paid more than the average market value, asking for a pay rise could have a negative impact. You need to be sure you deserve one and that you can at least make a case for why you should be paid more than the industry average.

Before you meet with your boss, it is prudent to have a clear agenda in mind. Consider how you are you going to position and present your request for a pay rise. Will it be a Powerpoint presentation showcasing your achievements or just a face-to-face discussion? Different managers respond to different approaches. If your manager is analytical, they are likely to appreciate seeing facts, figures and year-on-year performance statistics. More creative managers may respond better to anecdotes and feedback from clients.

Lastly, consider how your manager may react to your request. As you will be aware, charities have limited budgets, so they will be under pressure to minimise costs. Be prepared for the case that they may not be able to break protocol to give you a pay increase, and have a clear decision in your mind as to how you will respond if the answer is no. One thing you could do in that situation is to ask for a series of SMART targets with clear written goals as to how you can work towards a pay rise in future. If a pay rise is simply not possible and other charities are paying more, you need to consider whether you’re prepared to move on.

In the meeting, it is important not to be confrontational or offer ultimatums if you don’t get the response you hoped for, as these could prove to be counter-productive to getting you a pay rise. However, you can state that you will have to consider your options.

It is also worth noting that in the current climate good fundraisers are in high demand, and as such extremely valuable to their organisation, so if you can prove you fall into this category that will certainly help your bargaining power. Good luck!

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