How to Get a Raise in the Nonprofit Sector

To say it’s easy to get a raise in the nonprofit sector (or any sector for that matter) would be laughable, but things aren’t always quite what they seem.

It would seem like taking time off would kill your nonprofit productivity and smash your chances to get a raise, but a recent study showed that over 60% of people who took 11 or more vacation days off got a raise in the last three years, versus the less than 30% who didn’t.

From the same study, you’re 30% more likely to receive a raise if you take 11 or more vacation days.

That doesn’t mean that just by taking the vacation your boss will give you a raise for not being there. It’s kind of like when you’re trying to complete a puzzle or get writers block, and the only way to come back strong is to walk away from the task for a few hours or even a few days in some cases.

Being successful at work is the same way, only instead of removing a simple task from your mind for a few hours, you’re free to not think about work for a week or more at a time. When you come back, you’ll be rejuvenated and less stressed, increasing your quality of work putting you that much closer to the opportunity to get a raise.

The other day I got sucked into a viral Facebook video about how France and America are different when it comes to work-life balance and vacation time. “In France, vacation is a right, not a privilege,” a french woman in the video explains.

“80% of American workers are stressed.”

According to the video, they’re promised 30 days off and get paid overtime for anything more than 35 hours per week. As a result of their vacation policy as a whole, 18% of French workers reported being stressed compared to the 80% of Americans who felt stressed.

Recently, France even legally banned work emails on weekends and after hours.

Weekends are always too short and unfortunately never quite as relaxing as we hoped they’d be. With the short list that never gets completed, social obligations you just can’t say no to, and the inevitable “where did the weekend go?” feeling on Sunday night

“Taking breaks is critical to working at your optimal levels of focus and attention, productivity and creative thinking, as well as coping with stressors throughout your day.” — Beth Kanter

There’s currently even an initiative that reviews the state of vacation and removes the stigma of taking vacations in America. Their research suggests that 55% of Americans didn’t use all of their vacation days in 2015 and “by giving up this time off, Americans are effectively volunteering hundreds of millions of days of free work for their employers, which results in $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits.” This statistic has seen minimal improvement over the years. Less than half of the U.S. workforce takes all of their PTO and almost half of those who aren’t taking enough time off are scared they’ll fall behind, but research shows that taking time off is essential for productivity.

Even if it’s not taking a week off, like Beth Kanter explains, “breaks from work can come in all shapes and sizes and at any time of the workday.” Whether it’s a walking meeting, a quick board game with coworkers or taking a long lunch, “taking breaks is critical to working at your optimal levels of focus and attention, productivity and creative thinking, as well as coping with stressors throughout your day.” Taking intentional steps back from your work, physically and emotionally, can help you avoid burnout and be more productive and engaged in your work in the long run. 

So when you’re Googling all the different ways to be productive and successful at work or how to get a raise, quit sifting through the list of articles about the “Top 10 Ways to Get a Raise” or “3 Things Successful People Do.” Taking time off to go on vacations decreases stress and increases happiness.

Nonprofit Mentor

Nick Small

With specialties in content strategy and creation, social media engagement and digital marketing optimization, Nick brings a depth of experience in nonprofit marketing. He’s also helped hundreds of nonprofits with their online presence to improve donor retention and attract new audiences, and he still has time for a good glass of whiskey, round of golf or new adventure.

August 24, 2016

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