Keeping Your Nonprofit Employees Happy

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On April 1, 2014, The Nonprofit Times published a list of the best nonprofits to work for. Going beyond a simple list, the publication offered some very interesting insights into what employees of those nonprofits were looking for, and what made them feel that their place of employ was a good one. These insights also can serve as a good checklist for your own cause. What might your employees be looking for? Are you making those wishlist items available? Here is what the employees surveyed mentioned most.


This does not necessarily have to mean the biggest paycheck in the NPO world. Employees like to be motivated by raises or bonuses associated with reaching specific goals, for example. Healthcare benefits are of course extremely important, and parents also will tend to be more loyal to a workplace if there is flexibility to spend time with their children.


Not surprisingly, employees at the best NPOs to work for noted that their bosses always keep them updated on what is going on with the organization. Not only does this help employees work more effectively but it also keeps them invested in the fate of the organization.

Room for Growth

Do your employees know that there are ways for them to expand their horizons with your organization, or do they know that when they join your organization they be able to move only laterally, if that? NPOs tend to inspire passion. When a person becomes vested in your cause, they are going to think of more innovative ways to help your organization grow. However, if a person begins to feel hampered or blocked, ultimately they will become disenfranchised and will stop putting new ideas forward. They may even decide to look for opportunities elsewhere.

None of these are particularly revolutionary ideas, but hopefully it does encourage you to think about how your organization is currently structured.

  • Are you able to offer flexibility of time to your employees? If not, how could you adjust how you work so that you could begin to offer that in the future?
  • Are you able to reward positive work towards a goal or objective? Even if you can’t necessarily offer more pay right now, are there other ways you could motivate your employees?
  • Do you keep your employees updated regarding the overall health of your organization? Do you let them know what obstacles might be coming up or what successes have occurred?
  • Do you think your employees feel like they are truly integral to your organization’s operation?

These are important questions to consider at any time of year but particularly as you begin the planning for a new year to come. Answering these questions, or at least beginning to address them, will most assuredly help you draw better employees, and perhaps more importantly, it will help you keep the employees who have already proven themselves to be loyal and passionate. What could be better than that?

1 thought on “Keeping Your Nonprofit Employees Happy”

  1. Hi Margie,
    What an interesting read! I (and others) spend a lot of time thinking about employee engagement at corporations, and how corporate social responsibility plays into that. But, I haven’t really thought much about what drives employee engagement at nonprofits. It does seem like they’d be similar things, but one thing we already know about NP employees – making a positive impact is important to them!
    Thanks again,

    Adam Weinger
    President, Double the Donation

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