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Consider professional development, paid time off and other perks

As a charity employer, you value your employees — but do you dread salary negotiations?

Budget restrictions may leave you little flexibility with the base salary you're able to offer a given candidate. To address the challenge, consider salary negotiations as a collaborative conversation rather than a win-lose battle. Use the negotiation as an opportunity to understand the candidate's motivations, positions and interests, as well as establish a positive base for a long-term productive relationship.

Look at the big picture

If you're limited to a fixed salary base, consider other incentives to improve the compensation package. For example:

  • Flexibility. A day each week working from home, flexible start or end times, or a condensed workweek might be appealing. In fact, a global study by UnifyCo found that more than 40 percent of employees would prefer flexible work to an increase in pay.
  • Professional development. Offer to pay the membership fee for a relevant professional association or to send the candidate to selected workshops, conferences or training courses.
  • Retirement savings. Provide employer contributions to a retirement savings plan.
  • Commuting support. Subsidize public transport to work or offer dedicated parking.
  • Company equipment. Offer tools of the trade, such as a company laptop and/or mobile phone.
  • Moving expenses. Offer a set amount to cover relocation expenses.
  • Annual leave. Offer an additional week of paid leave each year.
  • Performance bonus. Consider basing a bonus on the achievement of key performance indicators or budgeted income, perhaps followed by another bonus for exceeding the target by an agreed amount.
  • Review dates. Move the annual salary review to six or even three months if key results can be achieved in that time.

Ease the negotiation process

When you submit an offer to a candidate, be sure to:

  • Allow time for evaluation. Legally, you're required to give the candidate time to consider the offer and to seek outside advice. Don't pressure the candidate to make a hasty decision.
  • Help the candidate make an informed decision. Provide all the necessary information, including details about salary, travel requirements, benefits and other perks of the position.
  • Respond to counter offers fairly. Confirm items of agreement, anticipate objections and be transparent when discussing the figures. Be prepared to explain how your charity determines salaries and pay increases.
  • Be open to compromise. Find out what's most important to the candidate and be willing to consider ways to accommodate those needs.



MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.




Recruitment specialist focusing on nonprofit fundraising positions