Staff Retention | Employee or staff turnover can be a significant issue at nonprofit organizations. While these groups attract people with a desire to help others, having an emotional commitment to making a difference can lead to burnout over time. Many other difficulties associated with working at a nonprofit can also contribute, including working with outmoded processes that take too much time. Implementing more sophisticated software can streamline workflow and make certain tasks less burdensome and time consuming. Donation management software also makes fundraising more efficient. Since fundraising is one of the most grueling activities many nonprofits face, making it easier is one way to benefit your team and staff.

A 2013 report from The Improve Group and Nonprofit HR Solutions found that employee turnover in 2012 was 17 percent, with 11 percent voluntary. Sixty-six percent of organizations surveyed expected this turnover rate to remain steady, while 13 percent thought it would increase. Turnover can be costly for many reasons and it can set nonprofits back in fundraising efforts when experienced development staff depart.

Increasing focus on HR departments for staff retention

Because nonprofits value their employees so highly, human resources departments at nonprofits are becoming more important to upper management. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported on a new report from consulting company Nonprofit HR, which found that 21 percent of human resources departments have increased in size over the past year. These departments reported that the increase is related to new management having a greater understanding of the importance of human resources for organizational success.

The report also found that very few organizations, about one-third, had a formal written HR strategy that planned for current and future staffing needs. The report from The Improve Group and Nonprofit HR Solutions found that 90 percent of organizations do not have a strategy in place to retain staff, thought many indicated keeping employees was a challenge.

In addition to creating practices to encourage staff members to remain with an organization, working toward process improvement can help nonprofits retain their employees. Development staff are often already very busy and tend to work long hours. Donation management software makes fundraising activities less time-consuming and more effective. When activities are relegated to numerous spreadsheets and paper-based files, a lot of staff time can be spent trying to locate necessary information. This experience can be very frustrating, especially when it occurs daily over the course of many years.

Staff are one of a nonprofit‘s most important resources. It’s important to find ways to make them happier.