Nonprofit Staffing Challenges – What You Can Do
By Kaki Rusmore, Director of Center for Nonprofit Excellence of the Community Foundation for Monterey County
People are at the heart of all nonprofit organizations.
Most nonprofits pursue a mission of serving people, of helping people reach their full potential in spite of the challenges life has handed them. Even nonprofits that focus on our natural environment do so with the idea of seeking a balance between the natural and human worlds.
In every nonprofit, it is the people; the staff, board and volunteers, that bring the creativity, commitment and persistence to our work necessary to make real, positive change possible.
Challenges to Nonprofit Sector
The challenges of managing and leading the people in our nonprofits have intensified in the last few years. In a recent series of articles, the Nonprofit Quarterly highlights some of these issues and the need for solutions.
Looking at the local picture, we see that coming out of the Great Recession, the job market has gotten tighter and some nonprofit staff have left for better paying jobs. Add to that the skyrocketing cost of housing on the Central Coast, new minimum wage and overtime laws, nonprofit organizations’ lack of significant progress on issues of diversity and inclusion, especially in leadership positions, and the growing needs of our ever-more diverse communities, and we see a situation where it is increasingly difficult for nonprofit organizations to stretch their budgets across the number of employees necessary to advance their missions.
At the Center for Nonprofit Excellence of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, we are concerned about these issues as we know that experienced, qualified staff are key to effective programs.
We also recognize that nonprofits provide several advantages for staff and volunteers over the typical for-profit employer. Many nonprofits offer:
- more meaningful work
- greater flexibility
- family-friendly work environments
Nonprofits give us the opportunity to build a greater level of meaning into our daily lives, a reason often mentioned by people who leave the corporate world to join a nonprofit.” – Kaki Rusmore, Director CNE
To compete with today’s economic realities, better compensation is being requested by staff in addition to the reasons that already attract them to our sector.
What You Can Do
There are several ways to address staffing and compensation challenges within your organization.
- Advocate with your funders for wages comparable to other sectors
- Educate yourself about regional salaries in the annual Fair Pay for Northern California Nonprofits Compensation & Benefits Survey Report (available for review at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence resource library at our CFMC Monterey office)
- Learn what other communities communities are doing – i.e. the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is expecting to invest millions of dollars to “ allow people to live closer to work and help nonprofits to keep their good employees.”
- Subscribe to industry sources like Nonprofit Quarterly enews (see the series on Overcoming Obstacles in the Nonprofit Workforce)
- Attend Center for Nonprofit Excellence workshops on nonprofit staffing and supervision, and learn some low-cost ways of addressing this challenge:
- Finding and Retaining Great Staff December 8, 2016 Register
- Supervision Matters – Rita Sever discusses topics from her new book by the same name in February, 2016 (date TBD).
It is our goal at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence to help both nonprofit staff and organizations thrive. Please give us a call at (831) 375-9712 or visit www.cfmco.org/cne for information and resources.