A Salary Question – For Someone New to Development

Sections of this topic

    From an email: I am scheduled to interview with a staffing company who is helping a non-profit organization fill the position of Director of Programs and Grant Development for a Chicago nonprofit. I’ve never held this position before, but I have over 10 years of IT experience and over 8 years of Sales experience. What is your opinion about starting salary for this position?

    This was a question with many implications, so I addressed the several questions that I saw implied….

    1. A person with the experience, skills and track record to be Director of Programs and Grant Development could be eligible for a salary of $75-$90,000 in the Chicago area.

    2. How does your work history qualify you for that position?

    3. No matter how bright and how much of a quick learner someone may be, a person without the experience, skills and track record, if hired by the nonprofit organization, would be doing that NPO and the people it serves a major disservice.

    4. The eighteen years of work experience that you describe, where highly desirable in other occupational areas, should only qualify you for an entry level position in development at $25-$30,000.

    5. If you have a strong desire to serve the nonprofit community in a development position, you’d be better off volunteering with a large NPO that would be willing to give you some training/mentoring – the nonprofit community would also be better off.

    To take a position with a nonprofit organization for which you are not qualified, by virtue of training and/or experience, is to violate the ethics of the sector … but that’s a whole ‘nother posting.


    Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating or expanding your fundraising program? With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs and the planning studies to precede these three, I’ll be pleased to answer your questions. Contact me at AskHank@Major-Capital-Giving.com


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