For Immediate Release Media Contact
October 7, 2021Atokatha Ashmond Brew


New survey finds nonprofits do not have a strategy to prevent employee turnover during Great Resignation
80% of survey respondents indicate they don’t have a formal talent retention strategy

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 2021 – Out of more than 500 respondent organizations to Nonprofit HR’s 2021 Nonprofit Talent Retention Practices Survey, 80% revealed that they do not have a formal retention strategy. At a time when more employees are seeking new opportunities and feeling disengaged at work, this survey provided insight into the trends nonprofit organizations are noticing. These trends include the most significant impact on turnover, primary mission focus, qualitative and quantitative retention metrics, the impact of COVID-19, and more. A recent Nonprofit HR webinar presented these survey results and the primary reasons for voluntary turnover, with the top two reasons including a better opportunity presented to former employees (49%) and the lack of opportunity for upward mobility/career growth (44%).

“We are seeing that fewer organizations have retention strategies compared to when our talent retention survey was last undertaken in 2019,” said Lisa Brown Alexander, Nonprofit HR President and CEO. “During the Great Resignation and the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become particularly concerning to see the sector trending in the opposite direction. Nonprofits are not exempt from the challenges of employee retention, and organizations must be intentional with their strategy going forward in order to keep their most valuable assets, especially as we are seeing more and more employees feel disengaged at work.”

From 2019 to 2021, Nonprofit HR’s talent retention surveys saw a drop from 16.8% to 12.6% of respondent organizations stating that they have retention strategies in place. The 2021 survey results also found that program staff in the nonprofit sector are still the most difficult to retain.

“Employers can make that first step toward employee retention by actively listening to employees and responding to this feedback in a timely manner,” said Brown Alexander. “Regarding the future of talent retention, I predict that remote work and hybrid workplaces are here to stay. We will likely see a greater emphasis put on employee autonomy, flexibility, and well-being. Organizations must celebrate and encourage the humanity of their employees in order to thrive and survive in a post-COVID world.”

2021 Nonprofit Talent Retention Survey Results Overview Full Webinar Recording Available:

Access the webinar recording here.


Nonprofit HR is the country’s leading and oldest firm focused exclusively on the talent management needs of social impact organizations. We focus our efforts on project-based human resources consulting, HR outsourcing, talent acquisition, and executive search. Nonprofit HR also offers customized trainings, research and events, all with the objective of strengthening the people management capacity of the workforce. Since 2000, our staff of credentialed experts have advanced the impact of some of the world’s most influential brands in the sector. Learn more at