Talent Acquisition, Transparency and Compensation: From Posting to Negotiation

By Lisa McKeown, Danisha Martin and Eric Salyers – Nonprofit HR

Successfully recruiting a candidate starts long before the job posting. It starts with understanding the critical role of transparency in your organization’s compensation practices and how it factors into the talent acquisition process. By prioritizing a partnership between total rewards and talent acquisition, your organization can create and sustain a compensation approach that also advances equity in your entire talent acquisition process. 

Compensation: Beyond What Your Organization Pays its Employees 

An internal compensation structure is the foundation on which your compensation offer to a potential candidate is formed. A compensation philosophy comes into play next, which is the outward statement, to your staff and board, of inward practices and a commitment to how diversity, equity and inclusion are infused into compensation decisions. As a guide, this statement ensures equity is at the forefront of your compensation, and talent acquisition, processes. Displaying this statement will also foster greater transparency and trust with both staff and potential candidates.

However, compensation doesn’t just come as a paycheck. For example, offering unlimited paid time off (PTO) or transportation support can be an immense benefit because compensation no longer reigns as the driving force for job seekers. In fact, only 32% of respondents in the 2021 Nonprofit Talent Retention Practices Survey considered compensation/benefits a primary reason to leave a job. Candidates are now embracing the need to work in an impactful role that aligns with their values. Thus, consider how flexible your organization can be when designing new hire offers to add this type of value and reinforce brand differentiation.

Transparency: Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Posting the position salary range in a job description demonstrates that your staff know the compensation structure for each position, where they fit in the structure and how equity plays into salary decisions. It indicates that the organization has done the work—and that is an organization candidates want to join. 

If you are a leader, you may have a fear of transparent compensation conversations with staff, even if there is an established structure in place. But staff want to know that they’re being paid fairly and are often comparing salaries amongst themselves. Thus, outlining how compensation decisions are made and highlighting opportunities for career (i.e. salary) growth are how to keep staff motivated and engaged, and set the organization up to thrive.

Talent Acquisition and Total Rewards Partnership

A collaborative partnership between your talent acquisition and total rewards teams ensures a continuous feedback loop of understanding the structures, practices and processes in place, which can encourage organizational cohesiveness and efficiency. For example, your total rewards team can partner with the hiring manager to determine specific role ranges and ensure they know how the structures work. It is also imperative to assess whether your compensation structures are attracting the right candidates your organization is seeking, indicating areas of opportunity to infuse equity

To strengthen this partnership, start by providing each other resources. Consider having your total rewards team create a one pager of your benefits offerings for your talent acquisition team, or participate in salary surveys, which will give your organization a baseline of reliable data to begin benchmarking. The goal is to create a symbiotic partnership between each team of subject matter experts to effectively operationalize your organization’s commitment to equity. 

View the accompanying webinar recording here.


Originally published on nonprofithr.com.

Nonprofit HR-Logo-TwoColors-NoTagline-NoIcon-min

Picture a Scorpion’s Tail!

Have you heard of tail spend?

Even if you haven’t, it exists in your not-for-profit organization somewhere on your Statement of Financial Activities. Simply put, “tail spend” refers to the 20% of your administrative overhead that you don’t have time to manage as tightly as you’d like.

The best way to think about tail spend is by recalling the Pareto Principle – the 80:20 rule. On the expense side of a not-for-profit’s statement of financial activities the 80% represents costs associated with the organization’s core purpose: what the organization spends on people and programs. That’s where financial managers direct their time and energy, and rightly so. And consistent with the Pareto Principle, that 80% of expenses is clustered around 20% of the suppliers – the core of key vendors who are closely managed and, for that reason, subject to all the proper controls.


Conversely, 20% of a not-for-profit’s expenses – the “tail spend” – is associated with cost categories that aren’t core to the organization’s mission but are nonetheless essential. On the “tail” you typically find things like copier contracts and printer leases, telecom and data plans, payroll service fees, benefits insurance, property and casualty insurance, uniforms and linen rentals, software subscriptions, merchant card fees (especially relevant for cultural not-for-profits that sell memberships or charge admission), food service, etc.

What’s difficult is that the tail – that non-core 20% of a not-for-profit’s expenses – is where you find 80% of the organization’s suppliers. And unlike the 20% of suppliers who serve the not-for-profit’s core mission (and for that reason command financial managers’ attention), that 80% of the organization’s suppliers – the non-core suppliers – are much less likely to be closely managed or subject to proper controls.
In some organizations – it doesn’t matter whether they’re for-profit or not-for-profit – it’s not unusual to find that the cost of processing and paying invoices related to tail spend purchases sometimes exceeds the value of the goods or services received.

So, what can you do to put controls around your tail spend?

• Chart your total spending: how does the Pareto Principle apply among the suppliers to your organization? (For an example, see the graph below.)
• Study the data: are there cost categories in which spending is dissipated among a disproportionate number of suppliers?
• Prepare a negotiation strategy: are there opportunities to consolidate spending among a shorter list of preferred suppliers – i.e., reward them for giving you better service and lower costs?
• Leverage your dissipated purchasing power; shorten the tail; gain visibility to your spending; create metrics to measure your success in controlling your non-core administrative expenses.

A Pareto-style assessment of your tail spend opportunities will yield between 10% and 30% savings in each and every cost category you attempt. Why leak cash when you can redeploy it to enhance your mission?

Making financial wellness attainable for everyone

How underrepresented groups view their financial health – and how employers can help

When it comes to financial well-being, Americans are generally optimistic. According to new research conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Empower Retirement, more than half of people surveyed believe they can attain financial health.

However, this confidence is not consistent across racial and ethnic groups. Only 38% of Hispanic Americans and 43% of Black Americans consider themselves financially healthy compared to 51% of white Americans. While the research reveals critical inequalities in terms of how different groups view their financial wellness, it also identifies a clear opportunity for employers to step in and create meaningful change.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of people of color say the concept of financial health needs a makeover — and companies must redefine it so it is more realistic and attainable.

While the specific goalposts employees set for their financial well-being differ across racial and ethnic groups, Americans generally agree about their big-picture financial ideals. Unfortunately, survey results suggest that some underrepresented groups are less likely to feel they have reached those important goals.

Infographic - Financial goals across racial groups
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of white Americans say they have bought a home compared to only 47% of Hispanic Americans and 35% of Black Americans.
  • Similarly, 46% of white Americans say they’re on track to retire when they want to compared to 27% of Hispanic Americans and 33% of Black Americans.
  • And while Asian Americans feel more confident about having an emergency fund and being debt free, they still lag behind white Americans on home ownership and retirement.

How employers can help

From an employer perspective, understanding employee progress towards their goals can serve as guideposts for financial well-being offerings. They can help prioritize what financial education, advice and resources may help the most.

And whereas more than six in 10 people of color want help on their financial wellness journey, employers’ engagement and advice efforts can fall short if they are not careful to build trust and connect with their audience in an authentic way. Download the research brief to learn more.

Research paper download - Making Financial Wellness Attainable for Everyone

Download research paper

The Massachusetts CORE Plan is an affiliate member of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. The CORE Plan is a 401(k) retirement plan designed specifically for small Massachusetts nonprofits. For additional information about the CORE Plan, please contact Lisa Cardinal at 617-510-4036 or lisa.cardinal@empower.com or visit www.ma-employer-core.com.

I Can’t Get Donors to Talk to Me: The Donor Engagement Call

mindfulness webinar Instagram landscape (1)-minYou’ve identified donors you’d like to get to know better.  How do you get these donors on the phone? 

  1. Core premise:  We want to serve you better. 
  2. Eliminate “ask” anxiety: Come right out and say that you won’t be asking for a gift—and don’t! (Really—this works!)
  3. Ask questions that will help you learn more about the donor’s interests, values and beliefs.
  4. Get permission for a next step and set a date.
  5. Smile during the call.
  6. Record notes.
  7. Make good on anything you said you would do.
  8. Tailor communications based on what you learned.
  9. Keep at it.  Only one out of three or four donors will want to engage more deeply.

Prepare the donor for your call

(Recommendation: Contact 10 donors at a time)

Donor receives a letter or email introduction to you from the CEO/ED 

  • ABC Nonprofit is committed to better serving its <supporters/members/volunteers> and we’d love to hear what you think.
  • <Person making the call>, in whom I have the utmost confidence, will be contacting you shortly. 
  • [If you don’t have a phone number:] We don’t have a phone number for you.  What would be the best number for <first name of person making the call> to use? [If communicating by letter, provide email address to which to respond with a phone number.]
  • Warm, gratitude-based sign-off

Make the call, for example:

Hi Jackie, This is Mark Jones from the board of ABC Nonprofit. I’m the person <CEO/ED> mentioned in their recent <letter/email>.  [speak slowly and clearly] I’m calling to thank you for being such a wonderful <supporter/member/volunteer> and see how we can better serve you. And Jackie, I won’t be asking you for a donation on this call—I promise!  

[This is a good place to take a breath. The donor will let you know if it’s not a good time. If that’s the case, arrange a time for a 10-15 minute call.]

I’d love to learn more about your story—about why you started <supporting/subscribing/volunteering> at ABC Nonprofit. What got you going with us? 

What is it that you think we do best?

What would you like less of?

If the donor is enthused, keep it going:

[Depending on what you do:] Has our work—or the work of other organizations like ours, impacted anyone you know personally?

[For donors] If it’s OK with you Jackie, I love to learn about how people get started with giving. What is your first memory of making a gift? Follow-up:  What is the best gift you ever made?

Listen for how well the donor’s interests and beliefs intertwine with your work. 

If the donor is not engaged, thank the donor for their time.

Otherwise, the next step might be:

  • An in-person or Zoom visit to explore in more detail projects/initiatives that ABC Nonprofit is working on that might be of interest to the donor. Can this be an “ask” visit? Yes. With permission. Meet the donor where they are.
  • A tour of the facility (if applicable)

From value comes engagement. And, as always, “get on the phone.”

A shout-out to iMarketSmart for coining the term “engagement fundraising.”


Beyond the Buzzword, Part 2: How Can Critical Race Theory Further Your Nonprofit’s Equity and Inclusion Work?


By YW Boston

Last month we spoke with Dr. Sarah Faude, YW Boston’s Director of Research and Evaluation, about Critical Race Theory (CRT) and why it is misunderstood. This month, we continue our conversation and discover how CRT can support your nonprofit’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

How can understanding Critical Race Theory support DEI initiatives?

Critical Race Theory pushes us to ask “why” when looking at outcomes, norms, and institutional practices. YW Boston draws from several different theories, including CRT, to focus on root cause analyses. It pushes us to ask, “in what ways are things unequal?” and “how do we change it?”

Organizations talk about how it is frustrating that their staff isn’t diverse. They feel that the problem is too big. Where CRT can be helpful is slowing down to think about what are all the different policies and practices you do control. For instance, focus on policies in your handbook, who you reach out to with a job posting, how you expect employees to “show up” at work. These may not always impact who applies to your job but will impact whether people stay. Too often we see that the issue isn’t getting people of color in the door or even to the interviewing stage, but it’s getting people of color to stay once hired. Once you’ve narrowed the scope of the problem to things within your organization, you have a lot to work with.

How are you using Critical Race Theory in your work as Director of Research and Evaluation?

Connecting Critical Race Theory to evaluation creates more room in the conversation. When we decenter Whiteness, it is not to disregard Whiteness, but to make room for more at the center. When we’re working with partners, we are disproportionately working with White people. Anytime you average the experience of everyone in the room, you’re looking at a whitewashed average because there are more White people in your sample.

One of the things I’m working towards is to start pulling out subsets that are specifically the experiences of women, people of color, and more specifically women of color. So, we listen to both the average, and we pull out value and amplify that subgroup in the spirit of CRT’s counternarratives. Their experiences need to be elevated to help complicate what we think may or may not be happening within organizations.

What is the role of “complicating” in organizational change?

I think that by asking complicated questions, you’re going into the weeds. That complexity is always opportunity. It helps us see all the different opportunities that we have before us we might have missed. Like asking, “How do we fix our culture at our organization?” Well, let’s take that big thing and start breaking it down into its component parts by who works there, the documents, the practices. If we can both have the big picture goal in mind and be in those weeds, we have an opportunity to innovate and work towards inclusion.

About YW Boston

As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I ServicesInclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and youth programming, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.

As part of that work, we are helping organizations prioritize Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and become socially connected while staying physically distant. During this time, YW Boston is providing organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. For more information, please contact Sheera Bornstein at sheera@ywboston.org.

Nonprofit 411: Social Media During COVID-19

Nonprofit 411 HEARD 9.21-minBy HEARD Strategy and Storytelling

For many nonprofit organizations, sustainability is always a top priority. An organization’s goal of delivering on its mission during the Covid-19 pandemic has likely brought many challenges. Social media has grown to be an essential part of maintaining relationships and fundraising for nonprofits across the globe.

Social media, since the medium’s inception, has been a tool to help people connect. This is no different for nonprofits and their supporters. Because of the pandemic, organizations have had to heavily rely on social media to highlight the work they’ve been doing, as well as create and cultivate virtual connections. Each platform is a tool that can be used to introduce new people to your organization in various ways, as well as highlight key happenings with those who are already familiar with your work. Social media has given the opportunity to quickly share information and engage with those you share it with. People can have conversations, not only about you and your work, but also with you. Covid-19 has forced many conversations to be held, in some capacity, online and social media has been the perfect platform for that to happen.

Fundraising plays a vital role in the survival of nonprofits. Organizations have been pushed to create new, innovative ways to raise money since early 2020. Social media has presented new opportunities to bring in that funding in ways that might not have been thought about before being forced into this new reality. By using platforms like Facebook and Instagram, events can be streamed to give supporters the feel of being there, while remaining in the safety of their own home.

One considerable benefit of social media is the cost. There is little to no cost to reach people through social media. Organic posts will reach those in your network, while creating relatively inexpensive sponsored posts can reach a larger target market. The potential reach is ultimately determined by the cost and demographics of your selected audience. It would be likely that your return on investment would be greater during the pandemic because of an increased amount of screen time for many people. Because of this, it might seem like you’re more susceptible to competing to be on your audience’s radar. That’s why, now more than ever, it’s important for nonprofits to capitalize on this opportunity to provide valuable content to really keep their audience engaged during this exceptional time.

A few tips:

  • Be consistent – you will not be able to build an engaged audience with sporadic posts.
  • Use hashtags – this will drive people with shared interests to your posts.
  • Provide a call to action – tell your supporters what you want them to do.
  • Engage – the point of social media is to BE SOCIAL!

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced people and organizations to discover new ways to create meaningful connections online. Various in-person restrictions have presented an array of challenges when it comes to connecting nonprofits with their audiences and supporters since March of 2020. During a time when physical connections have been so difficult to maintain, social media platforms have become essential in forging a virtual path to continue missions, as well as drive in new patrons and stay connected with current audiences.

How Nonprofits Can Critically Understand Race: Unpacking Critical Race Theory

MNNSharedSectorAugust2021By YW Boston

Critical Race Theory is the buzzword of summer 2021. But what is it? Critical Race Theory (CRT) emerged out of critical legal studies in the 1970s and 80s. Legal scholars sought to explain, “Why has equal protection under the law not led to equal outcomes or opportunities for Black people?” They theorized that the law could never be race neutral, but instead was shaped by those who held power.

Over the past year, nonprofits have demonstrated an increased interest in understanding systemic racism and taking anti-racist action. Dr. Sarah Faude, YW Boston’s Director of Research and Evaluation, is trained in Critical Race Theory. During the first part of this piece, we speak with Dr. Faude about the theory and why it has been misunderstood.

What are the key features of Critical Race Theory?

Below are a few of the key elements as they are laid out in the introduction of Words that Wound:

  1. Racism is ordinary and everywhere. We can move beyond debating if it exists and instead focus on better understanding how institutions support it (and how we can choose alternative paths).
  2. Be skeptical of neutrality, colorblindness, and meritocracy. CRT encourages us to dig deeper. Who created these narratives?
  3. Context matters. CRT encourages a historical reading of the law and the world.
  4. Value experiential knowledge. The dominant narratives misrecognize the experiences of people of color. Counternarratives provide other explanations.
  5. The goal is eliminating racial oppression. When we look intersectionally, like YW Boston does, we see that systems of oppression overlap and intersect. CRT argues that race is at the center of those intersections.

How is this different from learning about the history of racism?

Well, it is, and it isn’t, depending on how you learn the history of racism and what areas you’re studying. If you’re reading up on the history of racism in the law, then it’s likely you’re engaging with Critical Race Theory or communities of scholars who’ve read it. “Critical” is often a signal that there’s an interest in talking about power.

Critical Race Theory is a particular thing that has come to represent many things beyond it. The current conversation on Critical Race Theory is a resistance to nuanced conversations on how race and racism have been central to our history and culture in the US. Once we take a deep breath and look squarely at that history, we can get to work.

What about Critical Race Theory makes people nervous?

People are nervous because it can feel risky. If you’re somebody who has built a successful career without having to name racism, its history in your life and workplace – there is a lot of reflecting and learning to do. Doing that work is hard and can’t be done overnight. It’s risky because it requires vulnerability. We believe that organizations are now in a place where they are realizing the risk of not talking about race and racism and how it impacts everything including their constituents, employees, and communities.

About YW Boston

As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and youth programming, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.

As part of that work, we are helping organizations prioritize Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and become socially connected while staying physically distant. During this time, YW Boston is providing organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. For more information, please contact Sheera Bornstein at sheera@ywboston.org.


Nonprofit 411: Hybrid Work: The Next Normal?

Nonprofit 411 BNN 8.21-minBy Paige Ricci, Senior Advisory, Business & Technology Advisory Practice, Baker Newman Noyes

As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many questions about what this means for returning to an in person work environment. We settled into a “new normal” for the past 17 months as we all transitioned to remote work and we did so in such a prompt and critical manner.

So, what is the “next normal”? It’s where we are headed as our communities begin to relax restrictions. As a result of this, employers are both feeling safe and supported to do the same. For many of us this means a transition from a fully remote to a hybrid work model that provides desired flexibility to all employees.

Why Hybrid?

It provides the desired flexibility for employees. The impact of returning to an office on a full time basis can be great for all employees. . A hybrid model gives employees the freedom to work when and where they are most likely to thrive. On some days this may be in the office collaborating with peers, while on other days it may be at home focusing on a project or deliverable.

How to Make a Hybrid Model Successful

  • Governance model – Ensure you have the right people in the right seats setting the direction and making decisions. All meetings should be facilitated with a purpose to ensure optimal communication, collaboration and clear next steps.
  • Communicate clearly and often – It is important for both employees and employers to communicate expectations. Operating in a hybrid model may invite gray areas that can lead to confusion. Communicating clearly and often will remove assumptions about deliverables, deadlines, or expected work schedules.
  • Optimize technology – Many of us implemented new technology in a hurry back in March 2020. Now is the time to consider whether the new technology can be optimized for the future of a hybrid work environment.
  • Training – Train your team on any new technology you have implemented. Also consider training on approach, expectations and procedures to execute a comfortable working environment whether it is in the office or remotely.
  • Consider logistics – When considering a hybrid model and employee schedules, it is important to understand the impact this will have on your operation. Leaders should look at their business  and understand what is needed to ensure an optimal operation.
  • Document procedures – Consider documenting enterprise-wide expectations of employees within the hybrid environment that provide flexibility but also guard rails to assist with the effectiveness of your organization, such as minimum days a week in the office.
  • Team engagement – Work with your team to understand what they need. If we have learned anything in the remote environment, it’s that we need to be flexible while still working towards a common goal of getting the job done.
  • Collaborate – As some employees return to the office and others continue to work remotely, it is important to continue to collaborate through weekly meetings or even a daily huddle. This will allow for a sense of community to remain, regardless of working environment.

The Future of Hybrid

It is clear that the way we work has been forever transformed. The way we operated in 2019 will not be the way we work going forward. While we don’t have a crystal ball, we do think hybrid work models may be here to stay.

4 things to consider when measuring your organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives


By YW Boston

Increasingly, nonprofit and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) professionals have stressed the importance for organizations to measure their DEI efforts as intently as they measure any other key performance indicators. Nonprofit boards and institutional donors are asking for DEI measurements right alongside program-related metrics.

YW Boston’s DEI Services focus on change at three levels: micro (changes to an individual’s knowledge, attitude, behavior, and self-concept,) meso (changes in cultural and interpersonal interactions,) and macro (changes in the policies and practices of institutions and communities.) Yet no matter the specific approach to DEI, the process requires a long-term commitment and careful evaluation. That which is not measured, cannot be properly tracked or reassessed, and ultimately, it cannot be prioritized.

Define your scope and purpose

Gathering data for the sake of it cause more harm than good. Particularly when soliciting information about personal experiences of power, privilege, and discrimination; and social identities such as race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, immigrant status, etc. The first step is to identify your unique DEI metrics and why you would like to track them. These metrics should help your organization identify priority areas, set goals, measure impact, motivate staff and leadership, and stay accountable.

Establish your own unique baseline

At YW Boston, we collect DEI data throughout each stage in our programs’ processes: pre-, during, and post-. Measuring a baseline allows us to better understand who has signed up to do this DEI work. Knowing both who is entering this work and how allows us to finetune our curriculum, facilitation styles, action plan support, and other elements of our partnership to best serve the partner organization’s growth potential. Subsequent evaluations allow us to better understand what change looks like.

Gather meaningful metrics that go beyond diversity

Organizations can be tempted to measure what is most accessible or visible. While this can be a good starting point, solely evaluating diversity metrics will make space for ongoing inequities within the organization. For instance, tracking the diversity of new hires without measuring their engagement, promotion, pay, and retention within the organization does not tell the full story, leaving room for inequitable consequences. A part of this process is to understand deeply the implications and differences between diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Organizations should also think about data intersectionally. This means not just thinking about promotion rates for Black employees, for instance, but promotion rates for Black employees within different departments and with other intersecting social identities such as Black women or queer Black employees.

Account for bias in your evaluations

Evaluations can provide essential data about the progress of your diversity and inclusion efforts. They are also a valuable tool that will inform any adjustments, should you need to course correct. Yet bias often shows up in evaluations, and when it comes to evaluating racial equity, this unaddressed bias can jeopardize the success of your efforts of improving DEI in the workplace. Learn about identifying and mitigating bias: Your evaluations are likely biased. Here’s what you can do about it.
About YW Boston

As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and youth programming, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.
As part of that work, we are helping organizations prioritize Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and become socially connected while staying physically distant. During this time, YW Boston is providing organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. For more information, please contact Sheera Bornstein at sheera@ywboston.org.

Nonprofit 411: Well-being at Work – Good for People, Good for Business

Nonprofit 411 BerryDunn 6.21-minBy Vienna Morrill, Management Consultant, BerryDunn

Our position as leaders in nonprofit audit, tax, and consulting has given us insight into many different work environments. We know (and the research shows) that a positive workplace culture makes a big difference when it comes to the success of our clients – particularly in their ability to attract, retain, and bring out the very best in their talent. One of the most meaningful ways to cultivate a positive workplace culture is to create an environment that places a strong emphasis on supporting individual well-being and human connection.

Well-being and the workplace

Well-being is how we feel about our lives. It’s often a reflection of the quality of our relationships, our positive emotions, the realization of our potential, and overall satisfaction with life (learn more from the CDC). The work environment, including the people, policies, built environment (physical and virtual), and nature of work itself, has a significant influence on our well-being.

Most mid- to large-size organizations offer some type of wellness program. These programs tend to focus on physical and mental health and are often viewed as a set of resources and benefits to be used outside of work or when workloads allow. At best, these programs boost satisfaction among employees who already have healthy habits and inspire some positive behavior change among those who are looking to improve. At worst, these programs can be viewed as non-inclusive and even punitive for those who may be struggling with their personal well-being.

The most effective well-being programs meet employees where they are in their own well-being journeys. These programs are multi-dimensional – often encompassing mental, social, financial, career, and physical well-being. They also put a great deal of emphasis on how the work environment (people, processes, systems) supports and encourages well-being.

An effective well-being program makes a variety of resources and tools available to your employees while also building a culture of support – saying we trust you to know what’s best for you at this stage in life and are here to support you should you need it. This is a much more effective approach for cultivating a positive culture and supporting long-term healthy behavior change.

What are some special wellbeing considerations for non-profits?

Research suggests that sense of purpose may be the most important aspect of employee well-being. Nonprofits are inherently mission-driven and purpose is already “baked in” to the work environment. As you consider your workforce, be mindful of understanding people’s strengths and finding ways to align those strengths not only with a job task, but directly with the mission of your organization. Consider providing opportunities for managers to work with employees on “job crafting” – which means empowering employees to redesign parts of their jobs by actively changing their tasks and interactions with others at work.

As a nonprofit organization, you may not be able to offer as competitive of compensation as other organizations. The good news is that today’s employees are generally more motivated by the opportunity to grow, contribute value, and maintain their definition of work-life balance. Fair and livable wages are, of course, essential – but when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff your best bet may be to focus on cultivating an environment where people feel they can thrive both personally and professionally.

To learn more about how to develop a culture of well-being at your organization, please contact Vienna Morrill at vmorrill@berrydunn.com.