Help! I’m Not Getting the Raise I Was Promised

Jamie Perry
March 8, 2022

Last week, someone I connected with a while back about a potential search came to me in a really tough spot.

After stepping up and taking on new challenges in her role last year, she was promised a raise and promotion in 2022. Although her current position and organization isn’t the most perfect fit, she decided it was worth it to stay for the pay increase and new title, which more closely align with her career goals. 

But now it’s March…and despite her many emails and gentle reminders, her manager keeps postponing the conversation. 

Unfortunately, she’s not alone: many professionals have found themselves in this same difficult situation, especially if the original agreement was not sealed in writing. 

If you’re facing a similar dilemma, I’m sorry–that’s really difficult! I know it’s frustrating to not get the raise you were promised, especially when you know you deserve it. 

If you’re ready to face this issue head on, here’s where I recommend starting: 

  1. Have a frank conversation with your boss. Set a meeting to try to understand what’s going on behind the scenes. Are they postponing the conversation due to finances, your performance, or another reason you’re not privy to? Remind them of the conversation you had where you were initially promised the raise (this may include re-forwarding any proposals or documents regarding your new position title and description or comparative salaries). 
  2. Get it in writing! If they’re still open to your raise and title change, get this all in writing–including a date when your new position title and salary will start.  

What if they denied my raise? 

Let’s say they’re no longer able to meet you at that salary or title. What’s next? 

  1. Research what else is out there. Start browsing jobs that align with your new title and salary. (If you’re looking for another nonprofit gig, you may want to browse our open searches to see if there’s a good fit!) 
  2. Come up with an exit plan. It’s best practice to keep your decision to leave on the down-low until your manager knows. Seek out references, brush up that cover letter and resume, and plan to put in your notice once you’ve accepted your next offer*. I know there’s another job out there that will align with your career goals AND pay you what you’re worth! 

*A note to my readers: I never want to encourage people to leave their job without another one lined up unless their mental health and wellness is severely compromised. But of course, your mental health and wellbeing should always come first! 

If you have decided to leave your job, you won’t want to miss today’s freebie: 10 Boxes to Check Before Your Last Day of Work, which will prepare you to end on a high note and set yourself up for success in your next role.