Category Archive for "Uncategorized"

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…

Recruiting for a Diverse, Multicultural Team

No one wants to believe that they or their company has bias, especially nonprofit organizations whose purpose is to do social good. But, it happens. Conscious or unconscious bias reduces your openness to people who are different from you, and in turn, can dramatically affect your hiring process. Research over the past eleven years has repeatedly demonstrated a tilted field in nonprofit hiring, especially in senior executive and development level positions. Despite this knowledge, the percentages have shown little movement. So instead of rehashing the statistics, we’re offering some immediate, introductory steps that can improve diversity within your nonprofit organization now. These steps don’t require a major financial investment. They do, however, require sustained commitment from top leadership. We recommend that you start with identifying your own biases, and have your team do the same. The Implicit Association Tests cover topics including age, gender, sexuality and disability. You’ll find it at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/selectatest.html. To learn more, please download Recruiting for a Diverse, Multicultural Team: An Introductory Executive Action Blueprint for Nonprofits. Introductory steps to overcome bias in hiring and to build a more diverse workforce Identify, commit and prioritize a culture of diversity and inclusion. Picture what your current workforce looks…

The Back-to-School Bell Rings for Temps

It’s that wonderful time of year when students of all ages head back to school. Behind the frenzy of registrations, books, class assignments and parking passes is a well-oiled machine of administrators, executive directors, teachers, facility managers, system specialists and other professionals who have been hard at work long before the bell tolls. They make the first day, and every day, look easy. But even the best plans can go awry because schools, just like any other organization, experience staff disruptions. The “secret sauce” is to have a process that kicks in automatically to keep all cylinders pumping. Many schools are relying on temporary or contract workers supplied by staffing agencies to fill immediate, short-term and even long-term gaps. More than three million temporary contract employees work through staffing companies in an average week, with about 6% working in education services. Experienced temps fill not only administrative and executive assistant roles, but help with registration and admissions, marketing, IT, bookkeeping and facility management. As more and more parents and alumni are unable to serve in volunteer roles, many schools now routinely hire professional temps to handle fundraisers and development activities. Temps provide not only an immediate answer to an early…

How to Set Salaries

Stever Robbins penned an excellent article for Entrepreneur outlining these tips for setting fair and equitable salaries that won’t break the bank. We think it’s worth a read. When finished, check out PNP’s 2016-2017 NONPROFIT SALARIES, STAFFING & TRENDS REPORT to review nonprofit salaries for 42 positions across five different organizational budget sizes. Setting salaries for your staff is always a tricky thing to do, especially hard if you’ve never done it before. On one hand, you want to pay enough to get the best possible talent. On the other hand, you don’t want to overpay. What are you to do? First of all, don’t panic. Remember that your goal is to attract good talent and pay them fairly. When it comes to the exact amounts you should pay, however, know this: You never want to pay more than the job is worth to you. That’s just good business. Because at the end of the day, a salary is like any business expense—it’s an investment, and you should get a return. So you start by deciding the top amount you’d be willing to pay. The best way to determine that ceiling is to ask yourself this: How much more valuable…

What Do Employees Want From Their Job?

Happy employees are more productive, remain longer with the organization, and serve as your brand ambassadors. Creating a healthy workplace environment and nurturing staff should be at the top of management’s to-do list. Over 80% of the nonprofits surveyed for PNP’s 2016-2017 Nonprofit Salaries, Staffing & Trends Report acknowledge that they are purposefully addressing internal issues of overall job satisfaction. In answer to the question, ‘How would you rate the current job satisfaction level of our non-executive staff?’ a majority of 2016 respondents noted a need for internal improvement. 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…

Hitting Where It Hurts: When Fundraisers Leave

What’s a nonprofit to do about employee turnover? Some nonprofit employees can seem like rolling stones. They come in, work for a few years or less, and leave to other opportunities. Why are employees—particularly fundraisers—“gathering no moss”? Can organizations effectively quell the revolving door trend? The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that fifty percent of chief fundraisers plan to leave their jobs within two years. Forty percent are thinking about leaving fundraising entirely. “Too many organizations lack a culture of philanthropy, which means that development directors don’t have the conditions they need to succeed,” Marla Cornelius of CompassPoint said. “It’s a vicious cycle.” 2,700 directors were surveyed about the challenges they face in top fundraising positions for the report Underdeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising. The research revealed about half of the development directors surveyed expect to leave their positions, one-third of executive directors reported being “satisfied” with development performance, and the median vacancy of a position was six months. Gainfully employed professionals typically give 3 reasons for why they would change employment: for better compensation/benefits, for a better work/life balance, or for greater opportunities for advancement. The reasons professionals actually change employment: for better leadership from senior…