Strategic transition to non-profit management. How to?
November 14, 2007 8:29 AM   Subscribe

My job duties are changing rapidly, and I'm taking on tons of new responsibilities, at my boss's request. I'd like to ask for a promotion and/or raise, given the situation but am not sure how to go about it.

I've been working at a very small, local non-profit health care provider for less than a year as a health educator. We're located in a medium to large sized Southeastern city. I'm a one person department, really, and wear lots of hats. Now there's an unexpected opportunity to fund an entirely new program in my department, which will likely change the focus of my job to include supervising the staff member we'd hire. I'm also taken on a lot of things outside my the theoretical job description, at the request of our ED. (Being on board committees, grant writing, program planning, statewide conference planning....etc. I was hired to do 1/2 community education and 1/2 program coordination.

What I'm trying to figure out here is a) what kind of title should I be going for, b) what sort of raise would be appropriate (and when to ask for them?), and c) how should I frame these changes to an executive director who necessarily and rightfully keeps a very tight hold on the purse?

I don't want to ask for the world too quickly--I want to be strategic about this. I'm feeling kind of clueless as to how to navigate these changes, though, especially since I'm so new here. The ED expects employees to do things outside their job description, so she might not be immediately receptive to my asking.

Currently I report directly to the ED. There are 3 other staff members who are "Directors" of their departments; two of them have supervisory roles and one does not. Our total staff is ~13 people. I am the only Spanish-speaker among us as we expand our service capacity, and I bring with me a slew of community contacts in that area. I have about 4 years of direct experience as a health educator, and about 10 additional years as an educator in different capacities (high school teacher, university instructor in a different field).

posted by Stewriffic to Work & Money (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I know Spanish speaking ability is highly prized. I also know a factor in the wage gap is higher ups not having to pay women who deserve it, but don't ask for what they deserve. It's easy for me to say, but by all means don't feel like you're being rude for asking, or that you should just accept any old thing.

You've been there for less than a year. I would find the job description as it was offered and then highlight the numerous places where you have added responsibilities now. Be as detailed as possible, because I'm assuming the executive director will have to explain giving you more money to someone higher than her or him, or at least rationalize it in some way.

Take the rest of the time leading up to your year anniversary and compile a list that you can offer. If you're the only Spanish-speaker, you're providing a highly sought after service. Add in praise you've received for a job well done from others, accompany that with specific problems you've solved and contributions you've made, and go in there and get what you feel you deserve. Because as I see it, you open the business up in a positive way to an entire community that they wouldn't have great access to.

I don't think getting a comparison to another facility would be the thing to do because in my estimation that would lead to the executive director citing any number of reasons why that facility has the money and yours doesn't. I would stick to what you got hired for, the differences, your contributions and your unique skills and experience.
posted by cashman at 8:49 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

*Knock knock* (On supervisor's door.)

"Do you have a minute?"

"This is hard for me, but I realize that I've taken a lot of new responsibilities at work lately. I've done some research into what people with comparable responsibilities and Spanish language skills are making, and I think a $X-per hour (or X%) pay would be appropriate, so that I continue to be compensated fairly."

Ask for at least 10 percent more than you think you deserve, because they'll probably try to offer you less. If that happens, look uncomfortable and say, "Hmm, well I figured you would try to offer me less, but that's a LOT less. Can you go any higher?"
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:02 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

er, "pay increase," not "pay."
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:03 AM on November 14, 2007

Take on the project with the requirement that you get the resources (money, people) to execute it. Deliver the project or a reasonable milestone, then ask for the raise and title change. You might be able to rearrange this order by having a 1:1 planning meeting with the ED and diplomatically broaching the issue of your current job description vs. your current responsibilities. If the ED doesn't bite, at least you've put them on notice that the transition is part of your plans and they'll likely be more amenable if you have to deliver first in order to get the transition..
posted by rhizome at 9:06 AM on November 14, 2007

Get your ducks in a row -- take some time to map out your current and future responsibilities, the resources ($ and time) that they require, and a game plan.

If your current title is some flavor of coordinator, they're likely not going to promote you to Director -- that's a huge jump. But you could ask for something like Program Officer or Assistant Director. (The answer to the obvious question of "assistant to whom" is "the Executive Director." It's a fairly common convention and it sets the stage for a future promotion without overplaying your hand at this point.)

Having a direct report is a huge responsibility and is not to be underestimated in the negotiation process.

Let your current and proposed responsibilities do some of the negotiating work for you -- if you are trusted to represent the organization in such vital roles as grant writing and board committees, obviously you're bringing a high level of knowledge and expertise to this organization.

Some vocab for you: Talk to the ED about her "plans" for you and the scope of your responsibilities. We don't say "not fair," we speak of "parity." We don't speak of "rewards," discuss "acknowledgment of ongoing commitment." Concerns and challenges, not issues and problems.
posted by desuetude at 9:46 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

a) titles don't matter. Ask for a new one if it's important to you, but I wouldn't sweat that part too much.
b) How much: think about the amount of extra work you're expecting to have to do, plus the extra work you're already doing, and choose a number that you personally would find satisfying. Then add 25% or so and ask for that. (Everyone tends to undervalue their own work, and you want to give yourself some bargaining room.) Ask for it before taking on the new responsibilities, as a condition of taking on the new responsibilities. Do not do not do not start doing the new job and hope to get a raise for it after the fact, because it won't happen, and puts you in a much weaker bargaining position.
c) How to approach it depends on your personal relationship to the ED, the general tone of employee relations in the company, etc... but basically it's a very simple equation: you do more work, you deserve more pay. Frame it in those terms, and stand your ground -- this isn't something that your ED should need to be 'receptive' to; it's totally unreasonable for you to take on substantial additional responsibilities without a pay increase.

The ED expects employees to do things outside their job description

This is a classic way to cheat employees. Sounds like you've been falling for it hard. Stop doing that.
posted by ook at 9:54 AM on November 14, 2007

Not to rain on the parade here, but please think of a plan B, in case your ED effectively tells you to bug off. If I were in this position, and went and asked for renumeration along the lines of the the new job requirements, I would be met with stony silence, then a series of excuses why my request is not reasonable or possible to fulfil. Be ready with some compelling arguments in case the ED decides to argue.
posted by LN at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. LN effectively states my fears. My expectation, no matter how well I prepare, is to be met with scoffs. Just today when I brought up something I thought would really benefit us, the response was, "Well, do you want to take that out of YOUR salary?"

Money is an extremely touchy subject here. I think that no matter how well I prepare and document things that I'm going to be SOL. I still think I should do it, and I will, but I'm pretty glum about it. At least I'm full time, funded with hard money and have benefits. The last job I was in was grant funded, my hours got cut each year as the funding decreased, and eventually it went away entirely. A colleague of mine who has essentially the same job in a different organization is working 32 hours with no benefits.

Sadly, my position could easily be worse.

posted by Stewriffic at 1:54 PM on November 14, 2007

Sometimes it doesn't hurt to be courting other options as a possible back-up. If you think it will pay off for you in the end, keep working for them under these conditions, but if you're turned down and think this may be a trend for a while, keep your eye out for other options.
posted by fructose at 2:19 PM on November 14, 2007

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