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Why your employees are heading out the door, and how to get them back

Published:  10/13/2016

Originally published in the October 13, 2016 AHP Connect

The following article is based on an AHP webinar presented September 14, 2016, by Deborah Legrove, BA, CFRE, president of Crawford-connect, and Robert Baker, MBA, vice president – Philanthropy of Habitat for Humanity Canada and a board director with the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region.

How do you find, hire and keep high-performing professionals in the nonprofit sector?

The average fundraiser stays in her position less than two years, and yet non-management staff members require a full year to become fully functioning and add value to an organization. In a recent AHP webinar, Deborah Legrove and Robert Baker acknowledged the top talent recruitment issues facing Canadian development leaders and shared how to address the problem by making it a priority within organizations.

4 common reasons people leave or decline nonprofit jobs:

  1.  Fit: Legrove often hears, “I don’t feel comfortable here,” or, “I don’t feel like I’m adding value.”
  2. Lack of advancement: Baker noted that flat management structures in Canadian nonprofits often mean a lack of challenges for employees.
  3. Passion: Employees, especially millennials, are eager to work for a cause they believe in and will leave if your mission does not resonate with them.
  4. Compensation: Nonprofits generally have difficulty competing with the for-profit sector in competitive salaries.
5 practical ways to attract and retain talent:

  1. Update job descriptions annually: Regular review of a position helps you understand the ideal working culture in your organization and the ideal person to fill the position. Remember to build in some redundancies in positions by creating overlapping duties so you have a safety net if someone leaves.
  2. Add a value proposition: Make sure employees understand why they are working for you and find ways to align your mission with their day-to-day. Connect fundraising staff to the work of the organization in a tangible way. For example, if the donations they procure are used to purchase a lifesaving piece of equipment, have a doctor who has used it on patients speak to your employees to share how they have made a difference.
  3. Know where to look: Target your search. For example, post on AHP’s Job Center and other organizations' job sites aligned with your goals. Think out of the box. Don’t be afraid to look at the for-profit sector: salespeople might be great at soliciting corporate sponsorships.
  4. Combat flat management with projects: Develop the ability to give high-performing employees more to do, like a special project you have been looking to introduce or expand. Find a person to champion that project and delegate that additional authority to her.
  5. Add value outside of salaries. Use the examples below as a springboard for redesigning your compensation packages.

Bonus: Redesign the compensation package

  1.  Reasonable vacation: Offer three weeks of vacation to start. Managers should be given four weeks.
  2. Education: Give employees ten percent of their time to learn another business area within your shop, giving them the chance to gain new skills and build their career without changing jobs.
  3. Telecommute: Offer the opportunity to work from home one day a week.
  4. Assist new mothers: Help women returning from maternity leave transition back to
    the office by offering them flex hours for a period of time.
  5. Invest in your employees’ technology: Perks like a second monitor for each person’s
    computer, making sure everyone has a laptop (i.e. eliminating technology hierarchies), and paying for their smartphones will improve morale, as well as encourage efficiency and productivity.
  6. Offer summer hours: From the end of May through Labor Day, close three to four hours early on Fridays.
  7. Close the office between Christmas and New Year’s: Don’t make employees burn vacation for their holidays. For the most part, there is little productivity during that time anyway. In case donors want to make lastminute gifts, assign one manager per day to be “on,” just in case.
  8. Don’t forget the little things: Everyone appreciates a good coffee machine at the office!
NEWS  /08/26/16
The following article is based on an AHP webinar presented May 25, 2016, by Leah Eustace, CFRE, ACFRE, chair of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy Canada
NEWS  /10/10/14
The following is an excerpt from AHP’s new book, Redefining Healthcare Philanthropy, written by thought leaders from across the profession.
NEWS  /05/24/18
Knowing the key differences between a boss and a leader is integral to optimizing your staff’s performance.

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