I'm going to a 2nd interview next Friday 4/7 with a non-profit agency, they called me the day after the first interview, hopefully this means they like me. I'm nervous!! :)

I know NPOs don't have big budgets but they are offering a low range for the sysadmin/tech support/contracts admin position, $53-60k. Most similar positions pay at least $60k.

I have 15+ years of past sysadmin, procurement and tech support experience to grow into this position, even if it has some components new to me.

I want them to pay me at the top of the range (60k) or better.

It's way less than I used to make but living expenses are lower. This only counts for context but I fit some of their DEI aspects too. I do understand it's a non-profit but I should not work "for nothing."

Anyway, what are some ways I can indicate I want at least 60k if not more??

I've had one suggestion, which has pros and cons and might be too aggressive: "I was disappointed to see this low range; I was expecting a 60-65k range." (This assumes I'm given the opportunity to speak out loud about my salary expectations. I'm not sure I could negotiate other things like being in an office closer to home, maybe I could mention that if they only go as high as 60k.)

I know my abilities and value to any company. It won't happen but I could even provide a 6-page document explaining all my numerous contributions to my past employer that decided to outsource me. Idk when or if they will talk to my references, who I know are capable of saying good things about me and hopefully they do so. Also I shall continue applying elsewhere in case this does not work out.

Thank you, :) p

  • Usually, when a recruiter first contacts you for the very first interview, one of the first questions would be "What is your salary expectation?". This should happen even before the first technical interview. I am surprised they did not ask you that question. Apr 1, 2023 at 0:02
  • Any organization that hires on DIE characteristics isn't worth your time and effort. You're either there as Tokenism or the organization is pretty much admitting to being prejudicial. Apr 1, 2023 at 0:16
  • 3
    It is not uncommon for nonprofits to pay below market rate. They assume they can find someone who cares about their mission enough to consider the difference a contribution to the organization's mission. If that isn't you, it isn't you. You can always ask, but before doing so decide what you're going to do if they say no, and be prepared to either take the pay hit, accept or negotiate for something else in lieu thereof, or politely tell them "sorry, that doesn't meet my needs," and go interview elsewhere with no hard feelings on either side. Nothing inappropriate here, just reality.
    – keshlam
    Apr 1, 2023 at 1:18

3 Answers 3


Anyway, what are some ways I can indicate I want at least 60k if not more??

I've had one suggestion, which has pros and cons and might be too aggressive: "I was disappointed to see this low range; I was expecting a 60-65k range."

This is exactly the correct approach.

You know the range that they are offering - I assume from the job posting, or from a discussion with someone at the company. So you bring the point up soon and indicate that you are looking for more.

That way, you quickly find out if that is possible or not. They might say "Well, we might be able to do something for the right candidate." or they might say "Sorry, that's as high as we can go." Either way, you have gained important knowledge. In the first case, you continue with the interview process. In the second case you get to decide if their range is unacceptable and if so, thank them for their consideration but drop out and move on the to the next opportunity.

Sometimes budgets only allow a low range. Sometimes, the attributes and benefits of the company/job are appealing enough that the company can attract good enough candidates while offering a low salary. Sometimes, the company simply doesn't need top talent. There are lots of reasons for a low salary range.

Presumably, you want a job offer at a salary range that works for you, so you start this discussion right away. But if you just want to continue with the interview process for some other reason (practice?), then just wing it and see what happens.

  • Thank you everyone, 60k is my really low end but there's few IT jobs where I live and it is at least better than Social Security given that it comes with benefits. I definitely can talk about how I can add value, depending on their answers to some technical questions, as well as saving money by doing work that a consultant previously did...and I can ask for perks like which office I'm in and reasonably flexible hours, see what happens. Thank you, :) p
    – Parkaboy
    Apr 1, 2023 at 18:12

At one time during the interview process you'll have to talk about money. It's a mandatory step because both sides need to know if that very important part of the deal is agreed upon. You usually (should) never sign any contract without having reviewed all paragraphs and money is one of them.

That's where you let them know about your expectations, about money, working time, vacations, and so on... It's a discussion, a negociation, you talk and listen, they talk and listen, both can adjust (or not), and they expect that time to come. Very often NPO offer below market rates because they have less money and can find people willing to work for them for less money because they share values. You need to set the bar to a level that allows you to make of fair/good living for your work, and that's acceptable for them. There are costs ("but living expenses are lower") they should be/are aware of, but also other parameters, such as personal needs, experience...

If you have set the low bar for your needs/expectations, and that is more than their offer, it's up to you to "better sell yourself" (what will hiring you bring them as extra value?),. It's a give and take game between 53-60k for them, and 60k+ for you. But if they've set the higher bar to 60k, then they can pay the proper candidate that amount. You can still try and get a little more, with the end options of being said no or to walk away and look for another opportunity.


My first bit of advice:

Stating what your work is worth and not being willing to be low-balled is not being Aggressive. It's being assertive and they are not the same.

"With my skills and experience and the value that I can bring to your organization, I think that offers around the $65K mark are reasonable. I cannot go lower than $60K."

They might push back on this - in which case you could retort:

"If this isn't within your scope, then you either need to downgrade your expectations or re-evaluate your budget."

And be prepared to walk away.

Now, when it comes to Salary discussion - let's assume you really want to work for this organization (as per my Comment, I'd be running like the wind - but that's me) - if they can't get up to the minimum for you - you can try things such as:

"Can we look at options such as more holiday allowance, Flexible work hours or perks such as a Company phone/Car/Gym Membership/Health cover etc." (a car probably isn't applicable - but you get the idea).

Things that can come out of a different budget but are still part of your Total Compensation. That way, something that you otherwise would have to pay for, that is now paid for by the Company.

In addition - if they are really playing hard-ball - talk to them about some operational efficiencies and the cost benefit you achieved at a previous employer:

"Well, at Company X I spearheaded a project to do XYZ, which once fully implemented netted the company a costs saving of $XXXXX - I notice that you are using software Q which by proper consolidation and scoping, I was able to reduce the licence cost for using Software Q"

Or something similar.

  • Asking about other forms of compensation is a good idea. Especially more PTO, which might be really easy for a non-profit to offer. Or even a shorter work week. Would the OP accept a lower paycheck if he got every other Friday off? Would the company be willing to do that? Might be worth an ask if he really likes the job, they'd really like him to do it, but they just don't have the free cash to pay higher wages.
    – JamieB
    Apr 4, 2023 at 14:54

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