The Nonprofit HR Blog

  • nonprofit leadership elitism

    The Real Solution to Nonprofit Leadership Elitism

    In the March issue cover story “Elites at Work,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy explored a growing concern among many in the social sector that nonprofit leadership is becoming too elite, and thereby too disconnected from the populations their organizations serve. This concern has only grown in recent months as the November election and ensuing political shakeup has shined a bright light on the disconnect between American elites and the working and middle classes. In the article, reporter Nicole Wallace shared the story of Paul Schmitz, who battled drug addiction in high school and was once homeless, but went on to
  • How to invest in nonprofit talent when your budget is tight

    Talent plays a critical role in nonprofit performance, but according to our 2016 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, 84 percent of nonprofits don’t have a formal retention strategy in place, and nonprofit employee turnover has gradually increased over the past few years. These data point to an ineffective approach to talent across the sector, and often, budgets are to blame. Less than 1% of nonprofit funding has historically gone to supporting talent, and a mere .03% of the social sector’s annual spending has historically been allocated to leadership development. Those numbers are in danger of shrinking even further in the year
  • Fearless thinking in the nonprofit sector: The power of unconventional thought

    A core message in “Fearless HR” is that if the HR profession coheres around an accepted purpose, it can become more aggressive, proactive and bold. A shared sense of purpose enables faster decision-making, less confusion and realistic expectations. The bottom line for HR is that it must be more about the bottom line. In this post, I’ll apply the same thinking I used in “HR Becomes More Fearless” in regards to for-profit businesses to the nonprofit sector. Simply stated: HR’s purpose is to drive organizational results. Everything else is either a means to this end or a distraction. This realization
  • Nonprofit talent managers listening to a presentation

    Five Key Takeaways from the 2017 Nonprofit Talent Management Priorities Survey

    Earlier this year, we surveyed nearly 300 nonprofit leaders and HR professionals about their most pressing talent priorities. There is a severe shortage of data available about nonprofit talent, and our newly released Nonprofit Talent Management Priorities survey is one of several new data initiatives we are developing to fill that gap. The resulting data both inform our approach to serving the nonprofit sector and help nonprofits like yours set accurate benchmarks and priorities relative to peer organizations. We shared the results in a public data portal several weeks ago, but here are five key takeaways worth exploring in more
  • One of many female nonprofit leaders giving a presentation

    9 women paving the way for all nonprofit leaders

    In light of Women’s History Month, we’d like to recognize a few amazing nonprofit leaders that we admire. But before we do that, we need to put a few things on the table. As much as we’re delighted to pay tribute to these dynamic nonprofit leaders who are at the forefront of social causes, we remain deeply concerned about the gender inequity that continues to live in and across the nonprofit sector. Women – despite dominating the nonprofit workforce – still make up less than a third of social sector CEOs. And of those who are in the top-spot in
  • The new administration’s impact on educational organizations

    Besty DeVos’s nomination to the position of secretary of education sparked unprecedented controversy and heated opposition. While supporters of President Trump’s nomination believe she will bring a fresh perspective to the Department of Education and promote needed change, many groups and individuals protested her views on school choice and lack of professional experience in education and policy. Her recent confirmation now leaves many education nonprofits across the country unsure of what lies ahead. During the confirmation process, DeVos only offered general statements about her goals and plans. Aside from her controversial support of school choice, as evidenced by her advocacy
  • Creative wellness efforts to impact your culture on a small budget

    Now more than ever, the topic of health and wellness is becoming a popular discussion in our society. Adopting a holistic and healthier lifestyle not only has significance in one’s personal life, but in the workplace as well. As an HR professional, I often receive questions from applicants regarding a prospective employer’s health and wellness program. Based on those experiences, it’s clear that this benefit offering continues to increase in value. When thinking of the myriad of benefits currently in the market and of the various carriers who offer them, one may think that only larger companies with extra finances
  • Creative ways to minimize burnout and encourage self-care among social sector employees

    Burnout plagues employees in every industry, but its prevalence in the nonprofit sector is alarming. While those who work in the social sector often have a high level of passion for their jobs, research shows that as many as half of all nonprofit employees are burned out or in danger of burnout. The cost of burnout goes far beyond the affected individual—it also has a significant impact on the organization itself. Employees who suffer from burnout experience disengagement, decreased productivity and an inability to adapt, all of which prevent them from fully contributing at work. Due to physical and mental
  • Three trends that should shape your nonprofit’s approach to talent management this year

    It’s hardly a secret that the nonprofit sector has long underinvested in its most valuable assets—its people. Over the last decade, the problem has gotten worse, not better. In fact, the annual average total support for nonprofit talent fell from 1.4 percent of total grant dollars in 1992 to 0.8 percent in 2011. But we predict that the tide will finally begin to turn in 2017. This is the year when talent will become a top priority for nonprofits and their funders. Why? It’s fairly safe to assume that the changing political climate and new administration will put future investments
  • Three lessons the nonprofit sector can learn from the Women’s March on Washington

    I spent part of my weekend watching the news coverage of the Women’s March on Washington. I was deeply moved by the unity and power that women, men, children, young, old, straight, gay, Black, White, Latino, Asian and people of every rung on the economic ladder demonstrated to those who chose to watch. Not only did Americans of every stripe and hue come together around common purpose and in a show of undeniable strength, but they moved others around the world to join them in making their voices heard. The many issues that unified the marchers represented are the same

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