Promotion Tiers and Philosophy

Last updated: Jan 10, 2024

Data-driven practices and transparency are a part of our mission. In keeping with that mission, our compensation philosophy prioritizes transparent starting salaries at all levels, data-informed pay, clear timelines and processes for raises. By opting for a transparent set of salary tiers based on data, we hope to establish CS&S as a leader in equitable pay in both the tech and nonprofit sectors. Compensation tiers are benchmarked with data gathered from 990s of comparable organizations, public sources of aggregate nonprofit salary data, and published reports of US nonprofit compensation (e.g. Guidestar Nonprofit Compensation Report). Executive and Officer salaries (which are roles that are defined by Executive Compensation Philosophy) will be backed by data, reviewed, and approved by the Board Governance & Personnel Committee and full Board of Directors, as required.

Fiscally sponsored project staff salaries are set by project leaders and project Advisory Committees. This philosophy applies only to staff who work on CS&S core programs and operations. Fiscally sponsored projects are encouraged to develop transparent salary guidelines for their projects and post salaries with open positions.

Salary Tiers

  • The Board sets the Executive Director’s salary and manages their review process.

  • Transparent starting salaries for position levels are in the chart below. Our philosophy is to encourage pay transparency in our organization and support employees along promotion tracks. To support this, there is no negotiation of the starting salary levels. Instead, if you feel you are qualified for the requirements of a higher tier position, you may request that CS&S leadership consider amending your position title and scope of work prior to signing an offer letter. These represent starting salaries for each type of position on the core team. Salaries will be posted in position descriptions when jobs are advertised.

Job title

Starting salary


Executive Compensation Policy applies: Executive Director job description and compensation are set by board, other Executive titles are subject to board review.

See 990 filings for most up to date compensation data for Executive positions.



Senior Manager






Hiring and promotion

  • Promotion of staff between tiers and new hires do not require Board approval.
  • Promotions may take place once onboarding is complete (approximately 6 months, though timing varies with role and department) and job descriptions are under review.
  • If a core team member would like to pursue a promotion, they must consult with their manager to agree upon a scope of work for their position, detailed in a new job description, that matches the advanced tier qualities described in the Promotion Tier Criteria.
  • All core team promotions require ED approval and are subject to budget considerations.
  • The workflow of a promotion process begins between an employee and their manager to agree upon a new job description in alignment with the promotion requirements, along with a proposed effective date for the title and salary change. It is recommended that the manager notify HR and ED that the process has begun at this time. The job description and proposed date is then submitted to HR to confirm satisfaction of promotion requirements and to seek ED approval. Once the promotion and job description are approved by HR and ED, an offer letter indicating the title, description, salary change and effective date will be issued to the employee for signing.
  • Promotion or new hire to Director level or a position defined as Executive (see Executive Compensation Philosophy) does require approval by the CS&S Governance and Personnel Committee of the Board of Directors.

Annual Salary Adjustments

  • We plan for an annual salary adjustment for all staff to address cost of living increases, when the organizational budget allows. This change in compensation is informed by inflation, financial market data and usually ranges between 2.5 and 5%. This decision is part of the annual budgeting process.
    • When the budget allows, an additional 0.5% to 2.5% will be added to the planned annual salary adjustment In general, the budget will allow this increase when the organizational reserve capacity (as set by the board) is met.

Board Approval and Review

  • This philosophy will be reviewed annually.
  • Changes, including the addition of new tiers or change of starting tier salary, will be reviewed by the CS&S Governance and Personnel Committee of the Board of Directors, but do not require approval.

  • ED reserves the right to raise changes to this policy to Governance and Personnel at any time.

  • Budgeting for staff costs and salary adjustments:
    • The budgets CS&S management will bring to the Board for approval will include funding for raises and salaries for the upcoming fiscal year in aggregate rather than specific salary levels for individual positions.

    • This will allow the ED to work with the executive team to settle on the best raise percentage for a given year.


Promotion Tier Criteria


Director of Human Resources

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