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Getting a raise at your fundraising job -Interview with Meghan Godorov

9 March 2016

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 March 9, 2016
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Category: Conflict, corruption

This is Mazarine Treyz of Wild Woman Fundraising and I am so pleased today to introduce to you Meghan Godorov. She’s going to be speaking at our Fundraising Career Conference April 17-21, 2017, on how to negotiate your raise or salary. Meghan, thank you so much for being here.

MG: Oh, thank you for having me, Mazarine. I’m really excited to be able to contribute to your conference and to also help people do this. Help people really be empowered to negotiate their salary and negotiate on the job. So I’m excited to be able to chat about it with you today.

MT: I love that. So let’s learn more about you. Who are you, Ms. Meghan Godorov, and what do you do?Meghan-Godorov

MG: So I am a career consultant and speaker. I am somebody who provides support to individuals across the globe who want to build careers that last. So that means a variety of things. If you’re thinking about changing your job, I can help you with that. If you’re trying to move up or gain a promotion, I can help you navigate those waters. Really trying to support peoples’ professional development goals. So finding ways to do that on an individual basis or in group settings where I can share information and get people motivated to do the thing that makes most sense for them now and in their professional lives.

MT: So you really have a message of empowerment around negotiation, specifically.

MG: Yes, very much so. Negotiation and transition. I feel as though those are two bases where people really struggle, and to be able to have somebody there as a partner and a support to get through those times in your life can be really empowering.

MT: What are you teaching at the Fundraising Career Conference in 2017?

MG: I’ll be teaching, “What are the tangible ways in which you can successfully negotiate a salary?” But I’ll preface that with some of the general conversation and perspective gaining about what negotiation really means. How do I help myself prepare for that? What do I need to be thinking about that? So it’s not just actual tools, but conversation and sort of that psychological moment where you have to take a pause and think, okay, where am I at with this skill and how am I going to be able to move forward effectively and use those tools effectively to be successful?

I think oftentimes it’s hard for people when they’ve been in their jobs for so long, for example, or things are amiss at the place that they’re in. They lost their sense of confidence. They lost their empowerment around who they are and how they’re valuable, and re-imagining that or rediscovering that can be a big part of the process. That’s what I hope to also portray or to provide to the people who are in attendance at the conference during my session.

MT: Here’s what I know about the need for your session right now. I talked with a fundraiser working at large non-profit who is a sole fundraiser. He was making $35,000 a year and he had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a raise after two years of increasing fundraising revenue. What’s sad is that this was the salary I was making ten years ago, and it seems like nothing has changed in this non-profit environment.

So that’s one of the big questions in the non-profit world. How can we get a higher salary or raise when we’re in an environment that doesn’t value fundraising or what we bring to the table?

Some of our readers may have been struggling to get a raise after years of fundraising. Even fundraising significantly more amounts. Why do you think this is?

MG: Yeah. I think that there’s a structure in the industry that doesn’t necessarily incentivize its professionals based on how much they raise. There’s an underlying assumption, perhaps, that this is the work that you are to do and these are the salary grades or ranges that we have. So it’s sort of like you have to kind of know what to expect. So industry standards are one thing, and that’s sometimes just really out of your control as a professional. But knowing over time that that’s something that is the reality of your place of employment, wherever that might be, that that would be really helpful to be aware of and to know that, okay, now it’s time for me, even though I’m not getting anywhere here, it’s time for me to investigate where these pay raises do occur. Even within non-profit, I mean, non-profit is such a large field. What other kind of non-profits have a more incentivized structure? I think that that’s one of the pieces. I think that for a long time it was a lot about the economy. So there was just no wiggle room. So sometimes it’s waiting it out, reassessing where you are in terms of your own goals. What is your mission? What is your purpose in your own work? Does that fit with the institution or the organization for where you’re at?

So it becomes then about fit, and I think it could also be that you may lack confidence or the practice around asking for raises, or you have to understand your boss a little bit more to know how to pitch to them how you’re valuable or what you can contribute. So sometimes it’s the realization piece, and I think there’s a real disconnect between what the candidate knows and feels comfortable with and what the supervisor knows and can feel comfortable with around negotiation.

Then the last thing I’ll say is that it could just be organizational culture. Over time, that this just happens, and it’s a matter of, again, taking a look and taking a step back at who you are and how you fit with that organization or piece of a non-profit industry in general. So I think there are multiple things at play. It’s hard to pinpoint one aspect of it. That’s just the challenge with negotiations. But those are the factors that came to mind as I was considering the situation that you presented.

Fundraising Career Conference 2016

MT: Yeah, a lot of small non-profits I’d say really don’t have a culture of even anyone getting a raise. Then in larger non-profits, sometimes there’ll be a piece of a grant that will allow for cost of living raise increases. But it’s usually for direct service people and not necessarily for fundraisers. So that’s part of the problem, and some people’s positions are of course grant funded, which is another key piece. So yeah, I agree with you. Sometimes you have to go somewhere else to find a place where you’re actually going to be able to get the money you want to get. So I mean, that leads to raise and salary negotiation, the conversation.

What’s one mistake you see people make over and over with their raise conversations?

MG: So there’s a couple of factors here, and I think the one that sort of came to mind here is that most people assume that the only thing they can negotiate is the salary. But a lot of times you can negotiate other aspects of your work, your schedule or having a day from home, or maybe a different start time. Something around travel. It just depends on the organization, and sometimes you just have to know what they value. You know that you’re valuable, but I think that you have to think about that and then you have to know how you believe you’re valuable fits in with what the organization values itself. So sometimes it’s just a disconnect, and having tried to negotiate salary, you want to make sure you go in there thinking about your plan B and C. So if you know plan A is salary and that’s not going to budge, then you know that plan B and C you can ask for whatever other two factors you feel might help you stay, or might help you feel compensated in whatever way.

So I think that you make mistakes by just assuming that it’s one factor that you have to focus on instead of being more broad minded, I suppose, about what you can go forth in doing. And I think too, that sometimes – this sort of goes along with this conversation of preparation, is this idea of preparation. But sometimes we talk too much. We say all the things that we want to say to our supervisor and ask for that raise along with that, instead of sort of being factual and succinct and letting the supervisor respond to one request first. So I think it’s just tactfully negotiating that, or tactfully preparing yourself for how you want that conversation to go and being open to the space, you know. Being open to that discomfort and that space to negotiate within your negotiation. To really understand and really showcase why you’re coming from this particular vantage point, but also where your supervisor may be coming from.

MT: Right. So you’re seeing people kind of rushing in and sharing everything that they want, and the person doesn’t really have a chance to respond because it’s just too many things.

MG: Right, too many things. So it’s like, no, we definitely can’t deliver on all those things. So if you were calculated in the way you wanted to present your information, you’d be more successful in moving forward. It becomes manageable.

MT: What do you wish more people realized about getting a raise in their non-profit job?

MG: I would wish that more people realized that it may take time. It may not be as quick as some of your counterparts in business, that there’s incremental raises after every “semester” or every quarter, for example. That sometimes you have to cruise more. Sometimes you have to toe the line a little longer, and that’s probably okay. But that’s what you might have signed up for.

Sometimes you just need to know how to say what you want to say, and that can take some time. So finding people that can be mentors to you, doing these kinds of workshops like you are suggesting through your conference, really putting yourself out there to grow and learn is good. Be what’s going to help you be successful in getting a raise.

MT: How can you start out from a stronger position in salary negotiation?

MG: If you already are in a position and you are trying to move forward, either get a promotion or get a raise or both. So what you can do when you start, or what you can do when you’re anticipating that you’re going to be asking for something more from your supervisor, is to start tracking your successes. I can’t tell you how many times people will come to me just for resume assistance and I’ll focus in on accomplishments. Okay, so tell me what you did. What was your impact? Can you quantify your impact? And people don’t remember. So many things happen in a day. So many things happen in a month that you don’t write everything down that you should.

So I would really encourage people when they are preparing to negotiate for their salary to start tracking your impact. Again, it doesn’t have to be all quantitative. It can have qualitative aspects of it. But that’s going to just boost your confidence. That’s going to give you more talking points in the negotiation. That’s going to help your boss understand that you’re taking this conversation seriously, and sometimes that’s half the battle is just making sure that you’re taken seriously. So I would be sure that they’re knowing their value by tracking their value consistently, even if it’s like three months in advance. Maybe it’s not three months. Maybe you can look back at that entire year. You have a better memory than some. But maybe it’s just like more broad strokes about what impact you have. Either way, that three months, one month of tracking, and also complemented by that one year tracking, can be really powerful in that conversation.

MT: For fundraising especially, it’s easier to see metrics than with other kinds of positions because you can look at grants you’ve brought in. You can look at appeal letters, numbers that you brought in now versus the previous year. You can look at the number of people who had a positive survey from the event that you ran, as well as how much money you raised in sponsorships for the event. As well as the major gifts that you bring in. There’s so many different factors that you can just keep track of when you go and ask for your raise.

MG: Maybe taking it a step back one more to say, yeah, what would my metrics even be? Really making sure that you can understand what you’re being evaluated on or what you’re evaluating for yourself. Maybe that’s different than your supervisor. Maybe your supervisor doesn’t value these four or five things that you feel are the key to your work, and that’s a great conversation to be having as well because that is awareness building on both sides. That can help you negotiate for the future, whether it’s salary or not. It’s still going to allow you to be more in control of the conversation, more aware of the factors that are affecting your conversation and that are able to position yourself for the conversation moving forward.

MT: So if you think you know what your boss really values, you may just be assuming it and you may be wrong.

MG: Exactly.

MT:  So what you’re suggesting people could do is really have that conversation with their boss and say, ‘What do you value? What are the metrics of my job that would make me get a raise?’

MG: Exactly, and ask for check-ins. Ask for quarterly or half-year check-ins, whatever works for you. It holds you more accountable and it holds them accountable, and it showcases to them that you are dedicated and that you are willing to change things up if need be, or that you’re willing to reassess. Those are great leadership qualities that will take you far in your career in general.

MT: What will people learn if they come to your session?

MG: I feel like I have to save some things for the actual presentation. Yeah, so I think that it’s probably best to sort of just kind of summarize what is in the bulleted points of the description of the session. So how to quantify and qualify your value, which we talked a lot about just now, but to your employer, to your boss. Strategies for tracking and describing your accomplishments, not only year-round but maybe quarterly, like I suggested. Tips for preparing your performance review, such as how to address topics of salary raises, title changes, and negotiating responsibilities. You know, you want to be sure that you are setting yourself up for professional success. A raise can just be a change in title, and that can mean the world to you, especially if you’re trying to advance in the field. That could help you pivot laterally or even move forward into another organization down the road. So you want to be thinking about the little steps that can take you there, and we’ll talk a lot about that.

Even just sharing our own examples of negotiating salaries and what we have done. Sometimes we don’t talk about salary. The culture in the States is not to talk about money, and it’s really a tragedy when you think about it because I think we’d be so much more adept at these skills if we were able to talk about money. I think that that’s one of the main pillars of the session that I’d like to share. Yeah, I feel like there’s another big topic. We talked about this before, Mazarine, where how do you move beyond working for less because you believe in the mission, right? So you want to work for an organization that you care about. But you want to make money enough to survive, and how do you manage that? How do you navigate that? I think naturally through the conversation with Marc, we’ll be able to kind of talk to that and speak to that a little bit more. So I think attendees will learn a little bit about the nuances of those conversations and of those decisions, and again, just being able to bond around that. Being able to build community around that is so important as you build confidence in doing this independent negotiation work.

Fundraising Career Conference 2016

MT: Thank you. I think that’s going to be really interesting for people to hear. I know people are also interested in hearing, and I know you’ll be covering this. How do you deal with asking for salary when maybe they’ve already wrestled out your previous salaries from you in your job negotiation? That’s part of the application process. So I think you’ll be talking about that as well, right?

MG: Yeah, that’s correct. Thank you for reminding me.

MT: I’m looking forward to that very much. People are sending questions about this. So I know we’re going to be taking those into account. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

MG: Come with an open mind and realize that you can do this. That is a really important component to walking into the workshop for the conference, because I think there’s so much out there that you can stack against you in terms of building this skill and feeling like you can be accomplished in it. But giving yourself the chance to try, and giving yourself the permission, I guess, to just soak it all up, will be really helpful. I know that when I started delivering salary negotiation workshops to other clients and students that I’d been working with in the past, it was hard for them to even think that they were worth doing the process. Even starting the process, even learning. Like oh, well, there’s so much out there that says that we’re not going to be able to do that, or that we can’t negotiate, or that it’s never going to work out.

Slowly but surely over the years, I’ve heard and seen success stories around this. It’s so great to be able to see that person think, ‘I did it.’ And even though it was uncomfortable, I actually made it happen. So I would say just to those people who are going to attend, really just keep an open mind and know that you’re going to have a lot of things to think about. But it’s all going to be good, and that struggle is not something you have to go through by yourself.

MT: Oh, I love that. Thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate that. You’re saying you’re not alone, and we’re going to all do this together.

MG: Yeah, exactly.

MT: That’s wonderful.

MG: That’s the only way we’re going to make it through.

MT: I love that. Thank you. How can people get in touch with you, Meghan?

MG: So you can visit my website, www.meghangodorov.com. Or I welcome you to connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Twitter is just simply my name, so if you get that right you’ll find me. If not, again, I would love to hear from you. There’s a contact form on my website, but really to get the information that you need and to be connected to resources, social media is the best. If you wanted to learn more about how I work with clients or how I work with individuals to help them find their successes, I offer free half hour consultation sessions so that we can get to know each other. So I’m more than happy to do that with folks, especially if they’re trying to think about negotiation. I talk it out with people all the time, and it’s very fun for me. It really helps you feel more confident in moving forward.

MT: I love that. Thank you so, so much, Meghan. If anybody has any questions, I hope they take advantage of your generous offer to chat with people.

MG: Yes, of course. I love that. I know we were just talking before we started the call about books on negotiation. Do you want to share your list too, and I’ll share mine?

MT: Yeah. So as I was trying to research how to negotiate for the conference, because I really felt like I should be more up on this, I found four books. Two of which I think you like. So I’m going to start with those. Women Don’t Ask by Linda Babcock. I think that was one of my favorites, and that actually has some non-profit negotiation examples in it. Ask For It, also by Linda Babcock. Sunny Bates, How To Earn What You’re Worth, and Jim Camp’s Start With No. I haven’t finished them all yet, but I have to say that I really did like the Babcock ones the best. How about you? What did you like? Which ones do you like?

MG: Yeah. So there are four that I would recommend. There’s one called The Confidence Code. So this is really just again around that empowerment component, but I think all that they suggest can lead to better conversations around negotiation. That book is by Katty Kay. Then Getting To Yes is really fabulous, by Roger Fisher. It’s really just how do you negotiate in general, but he talks about salary negotiations as well. Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Horn Without Blowing It. Again, this is something that really empowers women successfully, but I think applies to men as well. But I think her main audience is women. But it’s really about, like, okay, so how do I talk about myself and how do I showcase to people that I have really great skills? Then the last one is Negotiating at Work, and I think that’s particularly relevant to what we’ve been talking about in this call, just about asking for a raise, asking for a promotion, navigating the relationships with our supervisors. So those are the four that I would suggest, and that last book is by Deborah Kolb.

MT: Excellent, and who wrote Brag?

MG: Brag was by Peggy Klaus.

MT: Peggy Klaus, thank you. Wonderful. Well, thank you so much. Again, this has been a wonderful experience listening to you. I really feel more confident that I can negotiate after this conversation. So thank you so much.

MG: Oh, of course. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate being able to chat about this. It’s one of those things that I feel really passionate about.

Fundraising Career Conference 2016

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