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National survey shows that nonprofits plan to keep hiring in 2012

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2012 – Findings from the 2012 national Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey conducted by Nonprofit HR Solutions indicate that more nonprofit organizations are adding staff and expect to see changes in the voluntary turnover rates of their employees. These findings suggest that the nonprofit sector should to be more focused on retention practices than it is currently.

The survey conducted this year, in partnership with The Improve Group, found that 43 percent of nonprofits surveyed indicated their staff size increased in 2011, compared with 34 percent of nonprofits surveyed in 2010. Additionally, 43 percent of nonprofit organizations plan to create new positions in 2012.

Most nonprofit organizations (87 percent) do not anticipate their overall turnover rate to increase this year when compared to last year. However, more organizations expect turnover through retirements and voluntary resignations to increase this year. Last year, only one percent of organizations anticipated turnover to increase due to retirements compared to 13 percent of organizations surveyed this year. Additionally, 14 percent of organizations anticipate an increase in voluntary resignations this year compared to seven percent last year.

These two findings suggest that the sector will need strong retention programs to keep their current talent. However, while many nonprofits face challenges with staff retention, three-quarters of nonprofits do not have any formal strategy for retaining staff. Direct services was identified most frequently (34 percent) as the functional area that is experiencing the greatest challenges with retention, and over a third of nonprofits surveyed plan to create more direct services jobs over the next year. In light of the growing need for direct services staff, efforts to retain these staff may be a valuable investments.

“We have alerted the sector of these trends for the last few years.” said Nonprofit HR Solutions’ President and CEO Lisa Brown Morton. “The economy and job market have turned a corner but unfortunately, according to our survey results nonprofits are not investing in retaining their key talent as they probably need to. We really need to get prepared for greater turnover when the sector’s top talent starts to jump ship this year as opportunities in the private andnonprofit sectors begin to open up.”

The survey also found that compared to last year, a higher percentage of respondents indicated that ethnic and cultural, gender and age diversity is important to their organization. While the majority of nonprofit organizations rate workplace diversity as important, many still face challenges in ensuring a diverse workforce. The greatest diversity challenge that organizations faced was split almost equally between having their staff reflect the composition of the communities they serve, retaining staff under the age of 30, and balancing ethnic and cultural diversity.

“HR professionals know that a healthy organization has a diverse staff,” commented Morton. “As a result, the data seem to indicate that finding talent of varying backgrounds and ages within the nonprofit sector is becoming more competitive than ever. This is yet another challenge in the war for nonprofit talent.”

More than 450 nonprofit executives and human resources professionals responded to a national, online survey that addressed issues around staff size and projected growth; recruitment strategies and budgeting; staffing challenges; and staffing resource management. This survey is an accurate representation of organizations within the nonprofit sector by size, subsector and location and has been published by Nonprofit HR Solutions since 2007.

The full survey results are available for free download at nphr1400.wpengine.com/survey. Interested persons are invited to take part in one of six national symposia that have been created to discuss the survey’s findings. Visit nphr1400.wpengine.com/symposia for more details.

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About Nonprofit HR Solutions
Nonprofit HR Solutions is the nation’s only full-service consulting firm dedicated exclusively to meeting the human resources needs of nonprofit organizations. Since 2000, Nonprofit HR Solutions has worked exclusively with the nonprofit sector, generating results for organizations supporting advocacy, health and human services, arts and culture, education, the environment, faith-based missions and more.

About The Improve Group
The Improve Group is an independent research, evaluation and planning firm recognized for their work across the U.S. and abroad. Since 2000, the Improve Group has worked with organizations to help them make the most of information, navigate complexity and ensure their investments of time and money are impactful.  The research design, data collection, analysis and reporting expertise of the Improve Group provides tools to build organizational sustainability and connect with key stakeholders and funders. For more information about the Improve Group, please call 651.315.8919 or visit www.theimprovegroup.com.

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