Category Archive for "Uncategorized"

What It Takes to Recruit and Retain Top Talent

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you made a job offer, the candidate accepted, and then quit, before the first day of employment rolled around?  If so, you aren’t alone. The 2018 Nonprofit Salaries & Staffing Trends Report from PNP Staffing Group shares that a remarkable 36% of nonprofits surveyed found themselves in this predicament last year. As if it couldn’t get worse, 33% of the survey respondents said they had a candidate accept, start on the job, but then resign within the first three months of employment. So what’s causing the problem? As the economy has improved hiring has catapulted, resulting in a candidate driven market. Individuals are entertaining more job offers, whether they are job hunting or not. The result is very competitive marketplace for talent. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Association sector. Associations are nonprofits, with a 501(c)(6) instead of the more widely known 501(c)(3) designation. In PNP’s Association Salaries and Staffing Trends Report, a startling 79% of respondents said that they were concerned, or somewhat concerned, about competition for talent. That’s a lot of worry about finding and keeping good employees. The result is salaries are rising. When asked, “If…

Hiring the Right Development Professional

With few exceptions, no hire is more important to a nonprofit organization than the individuals tasked with keeping the money flowing: the development team. Yet, the average length of employment for a development professional is 277 days. A study from CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Hass, Jr. Fund found that 25% of respondents with development directors on staff had fired their most recent development director. Half of chief development officers plan to quit within 2 years. So what goes wrong? Quite often, it is a lack of understanding by the Executive Director as to differing fundraising skill sets and how a development professional gets the organization to goal. Development professionals, like physicians, are either generalists or specialists. Generalists have an overall understanding of all aspects of fundraising while a specialist has a laser-like focus on particular revenue streams. Understanding the difference is important—in experience, focus, pay—and results. Those who fill Director of Major Gifts, Director of Corporate & Foundations (Institutional Giving), Director of Special Events, and Director of Membership roles are considered Development Specialists. Development Generalists are those who fill Chief Development Officer, Director of Development, Development Officer, and Grants Writer roles. If you hire a Generalist when you…

Leadership traits every great executive director should have.

It’s been said before and it will be said again: A nonprofit executive director, much like nonprofit staff in general, wears many hats. Except, in the case of the executive director, these hats are especially public and often come with the weight of funding, visibility, and programmatic success heavily attached. The responsibility to lead an organization to success is not one of brevity. Leadership is defined as the ability of one to influence and guide others. Yet, the question of what makes a great leader is somewhat subjective, in part because leadership is just as much a process as it is a set of personality traits. With that said, there are certain hallmarks that are undeniable indicators of leadership that every nonprofit would benefit from finding in an executive director (and staff member). Nonprofit leaders are: Focused on the mission An effective leader keeps the organization focused on its goals and strategic plan, making sure that the board and staff is on target. Leaders set the example for others, demonstrating how to live the brand and work to accomplish a mission, communicating both internally and externally. Visionary Leaders not only consider the organization’s present role, they look down the road…

What’s the Difference Between a Manager and a Leader?

When aliens land on earth in the movies they never say, “take me to your manager.” But why not manager? Aren’t leader and manager synonyms? I mean, my boss leads my department, so she must be my leader. Just what exactly is the difference? In an ideal situation managers are leaders. But when it’s not, here are five differences between a manager and a leader. 1) Managers Manage the Tasks at Hand. Leaders Lead Towards the Future. Managers are focused on getting the current job done. That’s fine—it needs to get done. But a leader is looking at the big picture. He or she asks the tough questions, such as: How does this task lead towards the quarter’s goals? How does this fit into the company’s overall plan? How does this help prepare the employees for their future career goals? 2) Managers Supervise People or Tasks. Leaders can be Individual Contributors. There are people managers and project managers. Each has a defined set of responsibilities. Sometimes a leader doesn’t have a big title, and it’s just the person that everyone looks up to for guidance and direction to be an individual contributor. This person embodies leadership and people naturally follow….

Amazing Staff Speaking Here

Everyone I know prefers to be successful and treated fairly. I’ll go out on a limb and bet that holds true of the people you know, too. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are principles upon which our country was founded. They are the values that have been taught to us since we were young. So why would anyone think that should change when entering the doors of an office? Those who work in the nonprofit sector tackle some pretty big goals: feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, share the arts, protect the earth — the list is quite endless. Some pretty amazing nonprofit professionals share their tips about workplace expectations, and how leadership and staff can work together better. Clean Up Toxic Cultures Bad bosses can make the staff physically sick. In How a Bad Boss Can Make You Sick, Forbes contributor Amy Rees Anderson cites a study where 77% of employees actually experienced physical symptoms of stress from toxic workplaces. What happens when someone is out sick? More work for the rest of the staff. If that’s not bad enough, ongoing toxic behavior at the office can creep into personal lives and spread like a virus. Please…

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

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…

The success of your development professional might lie with you.

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…

How HR Can Help CEOs, from CEOS Who Started in HR

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,…

Making Your Organization a Great Place to Work

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,…

Development professionals, like physicians, are either generalists or specialists.

With few exceptions, no hire is more important to a nonprofit organization than the individuals tasked with keeping the money flowing: the development team. Yet, the average length of employment for a development professional is 277 days. Why is this? A study from CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Hass, Jr. Fund, “Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising” found that 25% of respondents with development directors on staff had fired their most recent development director. Half of chief development officers plan to quit within 2 years. Why the revolving door? Although leadership, strategy and structural fundraising issues are frequently at fault, there is another reason often overlooked: leaders lump too many skill sets into one job description. Development professionals, like physicians, are either generalists or specialists. Understanding the difference is important—in experience, focus, and pay. Are you cramming too many skills into your job descriptions? If so, you are setting the candidate and your organization up for failure. Who are Development GENERALISTS and what should they do? Chief Development Officer A Chief Development Officer should have at least a ten year track record of stewardship, solicitation, board development, strategic planning, donor relations, leadership, and management skills. The…