For small nonprofit organizations, paying for bookkeeping software seems like a large expense. Luckily, any organization with a 501(c)(3) designation can get QuickBooks Online for just $50 per year through TechSoup. Spending $50 per year will save your nonprofit tremendous time and energy down the road, plus it lets you create professional looking reports from QuickBooks to give to funders. If you have more than a few transactions per month, you’ll want to get started with QuickBooks.
Some people have a ton of skills, making them great candidates for executive director jobs. But do you need to them to demonstrate that they have a strong passion for your work? It’s going to be hard to find someone who has both the skills and passion. Both can be developed, but you have to assess whether they are a good fit for your organization at the current time. Below are some considerations to help you make a decision.
Do your employees struggle to fit in kids’ activities, doctor’s appointments and errands during the work week? Do they use work time to talk to their kids’ teachers or to check in with their elderly parents? Are they feeling overwhelmed with all their responsibilities both at work and at home? Reduce the number of hours they have to work, and everyone wins. Flexible schedules is one benefit most nonprofits can offer, and it is highly valued by employees.
Somehow, American culture has gotten stuck on the idea that 40 hours per week is full-time. In reality, employers can choose to define full-time as fewer hours, and doing so has huge benefits for your workforce.
We’ve all seen the applicants: yet another middle manager has “found their calling” and wants to transition from a corporate job to a nonprofit position. It’s easy to be skeptical that they just need a job and will leave as soon as they find a higher paying position. But some people really are ready to make the transition from the business world into a cause they care about. How do you find those people and how do you help them make the transition?
My best employee, the one who had been at the organization the longest, wasn’t performing up to his previous standards. This was the person who had been the person I’d relied on to get things done for the last few years. He had the enthusiasm and passion for the job. But it was getting more and more frustrating to work with him.
As an executive director, your departure brings about a huge change for an organization. It is challenging to know when it is time to leave, both for yourself, and for the sake of the organization. How do you decide when it is time to go?
As an executive director, I had a board that I enjoyed working with, but there were friction points. I now realize that the answer to these was simple, I needed a contract.
The truth is that boards aren’t great employers. The board-ED relationship is always a somewhat awkward one. An ED has 9 or 12 or 15 bosses, who are technically supposed to act together, but in reality they don’t always manage to do that. Plus the board composition changes regularly, so the ED’s relationship with them changes as well.
Hiring a good executive director is a challenging process. How can you whittle down the dozens of applicants and choose the best person for the job? How do you know that person will be successful?
I recently read Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street, which outlines a straightforward process for hiring the best candidate. The book is targeted toward the business world, but the steps are perfect for a board hiring an executive director.
Over and over, I see job postings from nonprofit organizations that don’t list salaries. Instead they say things like, “Salary shall be commensurate with experience.”, or “The company offers a competitive wage and excellent fringe benefits package including health, dental and life insurance, and tuition reimbursement.” It’s nice to know there are benefits, but the salary range is still the primary piece of information.
Employers have budgeted ranges for each posting, so why can’t they disclose the details? Do they hope they can find someone who will work for less than they budgeted? No one would admit to doing that, but it is likely that some organizations do it. Are they embarrassed by how little they are paying? They need to be up front about it, and then work to change that in the future. Are they just following the lead of corporate job postings? How about doing something different and being transparent about what you are able to pay?
All nonprofits struggle with providing good benefits to staff without breaking the bank. Here’s a few suggestions that are cheap or free and will make employees feel valued. Pay and insurance benefits are always primary, but that’s not all a nonprofit employee wants, as then they’d go find a corporate job!