Before you start planning how to have a great next year, think about what you can do now to finish off the year strong.

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It’s no secret that nonprofits are experiencing a very competitive marketplace. Talented candidates have a lot of opportunities coming their way whether they are actively job searching or not. If you have a job opening now or have planned to hire in the first quarter, why wait? To be able to hire great people, nonprofits must always be on the hunt for talent. When found, jump, because there’s no guarantee that another organization isn’t one step ahead of you. Being near year end is not going to sway a good candidate from contemplating new opportunities. Many candidates would prefer to accept—and even start—a new job prior to the holidays. This provides the time to get training and acclimation behind them so they are up to speed when the clock is counting toward deadlines and goals. Investing in the right talent produces the best return. Anything less is a waste of valuable operating resources. Waiting to fill an existing vacancy incurs enormous risk. Vacancies cause lost productively, overwork for other staff, and the potential loss of key stakeholder relationships or new funding. The average job search for a professional position now averages 3 months.   If you are confident with this...
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The success of your development professional might lie with you.

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Development professionals tend to have tall challenges and short tenure. Why is this? Surprisingly, it goes back to understanding funding sources. Once you understand that, you’ll get why hiring a development specialist or a development generalist is so important to an organization’s bottom line—and retention. Generalists have an overall understanding of all aspects of fundraising while a specialist has a laser-like focus on particular revenue streams.  For example, if most of the organization’s funding is achieved through major gifts, corporate donations, foundation grants, or special events, it’s wise to hire a professional who has direct experience and is a specialist in raising funds through those channels. If the organization has a wider range of funding sources available, a development generalist can cover most, if not all, of the different levels of giving. Accurately identifying the sources of a nonprofit’s current and projected funding is one of the single, most important steps an organization can take prior to hiring development staff. Studies show that it’s also one of the most valuable exercises relative to keeping the new development hire. So what goes wrong? The most common mistakes in hiring someone for a key development role: Not getting buy-in from key stakeholders...
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5 Traits to Look For in Every Job Candidate

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Hiring can make or break a company. Here’s how to identify the most talented employees. Getting the right people on the bus is one of the most important responsibilities of a leader. More than anything else, hiring the best talent gives an organization a competitive advantage. This is why CEOs should own recruiting, participate in hiring as much as possible, and ensure everyone understands how to identify the best candidates for the company. As a CEO who has interviewed thousands of candidates over the years, here are the five traits I believe you should look for in every candidate you hire. Exceptionalism Does the candidate have a history of being exceptional? Exceptional candidates contribute much more to the company than the basic job responsibilities. How do you identify exceptionalism? People who are exceptional have a history of being exceptional. If the candidate is a recent university graduate, you may think it will be difficult to evaluate his experience, but you can still look for signs of greatness. Exceptional candidates were usually exceptional at a young age. They were captains of teams, won speech contests, or ran businesses while getting degrees. They were stars in some way. They have learned how...
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How HR Can Help CEOs, from CEOS Who Started in HR

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HR pros complain all the time that the top brass in their organizations don’t value the HR function. A panel of three chief executive officers who spoke at The HR Specialist Summit in Las Vegas in September understand that frustration. They all started their careers handling HR. None have much patience for HR practitioners who merely wish they had a seat at the C-suite table. Nicole Mouskondis, Scott Parson and Monica Whalen urged participants in The HR Specialist’s newest conference to grab that seat by demonstrating their strategic value. That means solving business problems. “CEOs only have the same 24 hours in a day that you do,” said Whalen, former CEO of The Employers Council, a Salt Lake City provider of outsourced HR services. “The CEO may not be a people person. They need someone in the C-suite to fill that role. You’re there to provide solutions and give them staffing and performance options.” Mouskondis agreed. The co-CEO of Nicholas and Co., a wholesale food distribution company in Las Vegas, recalled a time early in her career when a new CEO openly declared he didn’t understand why their organization even needed an HR function. As far as he could tell,...
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Making Your Organization a Great Place to Work

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Job satisfaction has become an increasingly important issue for staff recruitment and retention. So what can you do to make your organization a great place to work? Offer flexible work hours. Flex hours help staff balance work and personal life, and demonstrate trust in your team. Provide a career pathway. The best organizations to work for provide coaching, career development, education and networking opportunities to help individuals grow. Encourage new ways of doing things. Create an environment where employees are encouraged to take responsible risks. If you want your team to accomplish great things, you have to give them permission to fail as well. Be a great boss. Help your employees apply their talent and to stretch their skills. Be clear when setting goals and how performance will be measured. Recognize everyone. Acknowledge individual achievements and contributions to the cumulative goals and reputation of the organization. Encourage vacations. Nonprofit staff and management are notorious for not taking time-off. Everyone needs some time for the brain to clear. Getting out of the office provides space and time to think. Deliver on values. Build policies and make decisions that are respectful to employees and customers. Be fair with every stakeholder because, honestly,...
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