Nonprofits – How To Attract & Retain Your Employees & Volunteers

Most nonprofits (and for-profit businesses, for that matter) are struggling to find and retain quality employees and volunteers in the current climate of full employment. The ability to increase wages to attract and retain employees to nonprofits is limited. Nonprofits need to be innovative in finding ways to get the best employees. Here are several options to consider, many of which carry little or no cost for the organization:

  1. Additional Income: There are many ways your employees and volunteers can make extra money to allow them to remain with your organization. Some options helps both your organization and your people. Why not tell them about a way to start a business at no cost where they make money by doing what they are already doing?
  2. Board development:  Many people don’t think of their board members as volunteers or employees, however, they are some of the most important people in your organization. They should set the vision for the organization, and guide the executive director who runs the day-to-day operation of the organization. The board must also be the first in line during fundraising events. Investing in your board is absolutely worth the time, effort, and money.
  3. Change Management: In nonprofit or for-profit organizations, change can be challenging. In many organizations, the impulse is to just assume everyone will “come along with the change.” Human nature doesn’t work that way. obtaining professional services to implement change and bring along the staff as quickly as possible is a wise investment.
  4. Debt Resolution: Many people who work or volunteer for nonprofits experience financial hardship. Sometimes, they have to leave the nonprofit to get a “real” job to “make ends meet”. If your people are experiencing financial problems, connect them with someone who can help.
  5. Employee and Executive Coaching: If you’ve ever worked at a for-profit company, chances are you were offered coaching or consulting to help you, as an employee, develop. Many nonprofits miss this opportunity because they think it is too expensive and doesn’t improve the impact of the organization.Don’t let your people leave because you didn’t help them grow.
  6. Legal Insurance: What if your employees and volunteers are having legal issues outside of work? How well do you think they can concentrate on your organization? What if you  could offer insurance to your employees at a low cost? Help reduce their “life stress” and allow them to focus on your organization and its mission.
  7. Outsourced HR: Many nonprofits want to save money any way possible and try to do their own Human Resources (HR) functions. This can work as long as everything is going fine; however, when there is a problem, the organization can suffer without the systems and processes in place to ensure everyone is on the same page. Hire a professional who knows what they are doing to ensure your organization and employees are taken care of.
  8. Retirement Plans: Many nonprofit organizations feel they can’t offer a retirement plan because a 401k is too expensive. What if there were a way to help your employees save for retirement, do it at zero cost to the nonprofit, and it could be entirely customized for each employee? Let us introduce you to someone who can make this all happen!  Your volunteers may also be able to take advantage of this option.
  9. Treat them well: Most employees quit bosses not jobs. If you want your employees and volunteers to stay, treat them well. Speak to them professionally. Congratulate them when appropriate. Have “appreciation days.” This is the simplest, cheapest, and often most effective strategy and far too often overlooked.

There are, of course, many other ways to help attract and retain your employees and volunteers. What are your favorites?

If you would like help in any of these areas, visit our website, register and we’ll get you matched up with someone who can help!


Michael Barnes
Michael Barnes
Michael Barnes is founder and CEO of Awakened Innovations, Inc. Awakened Innovations helps nonprofits to save time and money by connecting them with high-quality, vetted, service providers. Previously, Michael has been a business coach; Director of Lab Operations at, Assurex Health (a genetic testing laboratory); and built the Cincinnati Biobank and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Michael’s overarching passion is to help others succeed and fulfill their mission in life.

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