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Entries with Topic Nonprofit Management .

May 03, 2017

UST Nonprofit Members Utilized Over $1.1 Million in ThinkHR Resources Last Year

The Unemployment Services Trust (UST), the nation’s largest and lowest cost unemployment Trust provider, today announced that last year alone it helped 2,200+ nonprofits save more than $1.1 million dollars in human resources services through its value-added HR Workplace add-on.

The UST HR Workplace powered by ThinkHR empowers nonprofit HR professionals with the guidance they need to be more effective and efficient in their jobs. By providing expert HR advice, thousands of HR templates, hundreds of training courses and an award-winning online library for all workplace concerns, the UST HR Workplace gives nonprofits the knowledge they need to avoid costly risks and liability issues.

“Maintaining risks in the workplace is crucial to any organization but specifically for the nonprofit sector where one unexpected risk can put the organization in a situation they’re unprepared for,” said Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST, “ThinkHR helps nonprofit HR professionals avoid costly litigation with the tools available to them through use of ThinkHR Live, Comply and Learn.”

Staying on top of the latest HR laws and educating employees on organizational policies can help mitigate volatile unemployment claims and reduce costs long-term. Last year alone, UST members took nearly 5,000 online training courses and submitted close to 1,500 HR questions. The most popular resources utilized included Workplace Safety and Harassment Prevention training, Compliance and compensation inquiries, the Employee Handbook Builder and downloadable HR forms.

The UST HR Workplace has been a go-to resource for UST’s participating nonprofit employers since its launch in 2014 and is a priceless support system that helps to save time and money – offered at no additional cost to UST members.

Nonprofits can get a free 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace powered by ThinkHR by visiting http://www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/.

About UST http://www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ Founded in 1983, the Unemployment Services Trust UST provides 501c3s with a cost-effective alternative to paying state unemployment taxes. UST participants save millions annually through claims management, hearing representation, claim audits, outplacement services and HR support. Join more than 2,200 nonprofits nationwide and request an Unemployment Cost Analysis at www.ChooseUST.org.
May 03, 2017

Free Webinar: HR Compliance Impact with Washington’s First Moves

Are you keeping up with the Trump administration’s quick moves to change laws, enforcement actions and regulations to support business and our economy?

Presented by ThinkHR, this on-demand webinar explores President Trump’s first 100 days in office. The presentation will address issues and questions about rescinded Executive Orders, regulatory enforcement agenda changes and legislative moves that could impact your nonprofit’s business operations.

Discover what you need to know and should be doing relating to:
 
  • Wage and hour changes
  • Benefits and time off programs
  • Immigration
  • OSHA and safety
  • Other work-related rules


Watch the webinar recording today: http://links.thinkhr.com/Q0FW0oT0Kj1Rn0Wf900v9S0

Want access to more HR-certified webinar opportunities and a live HR hotline? Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ to sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.
May 03, 2017

On-Demand Training: Introduction to COA Accreditation

Don’t miss out on this NEW self-paced training to introduce you and your nonprofit team to COA Accreditation.

Presented by The Council on Accreditation COA, a nonprofit accreditor of human services organizations, this on-demand training is designed for people with little or no knowledge about COA.

The webinar will provide participants with a better understanding of:
 
  • The key concepts that define COA
  • The elements of COA’s accreditation process and standards
  • And more!


Watch the webinar recording today: bit.ly/2kDwGhh

This webinar series is part of UST’s efforts to educate the nonprofit sector. For more learning opportunities, tips and legal updates just for nonprofits, sign up for ourmonthly e-News today!
May 02, 2017

Delivering Your Mission Beyond the Web

The web emerged, in the 1990s and provided endless possibilities of engaging potential customers through communication and interaction – a pivotal moment for the nonprofit community.

Since its inception, audiences have come to expect a different kind of experience of being fully embedded in the life of an organization through the worldwide web.  Organizations quickly came face-to-face with not only technical and operational issues but content barriers as well, all of which were far more difficult to overcome than expected. Organizations were also dealing with trying to figure out how to remain relevant to audiences looking to the web for their information and quickly learned that their standard marketing materials did not translate to the web. This required organizations not just to repackage what they were producing but also create new ways to transform how audiences receive, process, and interact with content.

The growth of social media over the last several decades has been boundless and continues to grow by staggering leaps. How we communicate with our audience changes on a constant basis and we are forced to adapt quickly. Just pushing a message won’t create a relationship but you are uniquely qualified to provide the perspective and guidance that your potential clients are looking for by creating public value and promoting an intuitive understanding of what your organization is about.

Building a mission-delivery engine requires a thoughtful process and the ability to create dynamic content to meet the needs of your audience. Organizations that know its greatest resource is its understanding of what its audience wants is the stepping stone to successful engagement.

Some helpful tips:
 
  1. Rethink your nonprofits programming strategy and enhance the relevancy of the organization
  2. Create partnerships within your network to help build content and potential audience members
  3. Reach out to stakeholders to solidify partnerships and secure long-term engagement and support
  4. Engage all facets of your organization to create an engine that delivers and communicates value
  5. Utilize the web’s ability to encourage interaction and dialogue, creating ways to tear down the boundaries between your nonprofit and the nonprofit audience
  6. Enrich the conversation by offering opportunities to participate and share ideas

The web is central to how we enable, activate, and resource our mission. With multiple points of views and supporters, we’re enabling results that form something new. Get back to the possibilities that originally inspired us about the web and be intentional by providing a space on the web in which your audience’s needs are met.
May 02, 2017

Making the Most of Your Staff’s Diversity

Have you ever critiqued a coworker because of their overbearing tendencies or their abrasive personality? Don’t worry… you’re not alone in your frustrations. However, learning to dissect and identify your own and others’ personality traits can actually increase work ethic and strengthen internal relationships—paving the way for a stronger organization overall.

For nonprofits, employees’ collaborative efforts are often the key element to mission advancement.  But clashing personalities working toward the same goal can lead to resentment and impatience in the work place.

Learning to recognize and understand others’ personality strengths and weaknesses can help you appreciate the diverse environment you work in.  Specifically, nonprofits can take advantage of their diversity when it comes to improving their employment procedures and ensuring ongoing structural soundness.

Basic working styles can often be separated into 4 general categories:
 
  1. Learning—Learners are the researchers.  Unable to quench their thirst for knowledge, learners are constantly looking for the root of current and potential problems.  For instance, with regard to your organization’s employment practices, learners can help analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your workforce, analyze how better documentation and standardized hiring practices can lead to a stronger, more long-term labor force.
  2. Loving—These individuals are known for their relationship building abilities. They tend to show empathy and kindness towards others and understand how to approach difficult situations with grace. Spreading optimism throughout the office can help your nonprofit maintain a “glass-half-full” outlook on everyday work problems. Internal positivity and support alleviates stress during unanticipated budget or employee loss—providing you with a sense of security and consistency.
  3. Doing—Doers are known to execute and accomplish set goals. They thrive on lists, deadlines, and projects. For example, by utilizing this focus and attention to detail, nonprofits can analyze and restructure their training and continued education opportunities—leading to greater time efficiency and overall HR effectiveness.
  4. Leading—Leaders create and persuade by providing your employees with the tools to succeed.  Able to paint a picture of their visions, using innovation and passion, leaders are able to easily rally support behind their ideas. Great leaders inspire employees to constantly push themselves and take calculated chances to further your nonprofits’ mission. With each leader setting the bar even higher for the next, your nonprofit will be on track for upward mobility and constant procedural refinement.


Whichever working style team members possess doesn’t really matter by itself.  What most affects a nonprofit’s success is the compilation of strengths your team brings to the table and your team’s ability to successfully work together as a cohesive unit. As long as you understand and utilize everyone’s unique abilities, pertinent to your team’s progress, your nonprofit will continue to flourish.
May 02, 2017

[Podcast] Board Recruitment

Through the Noise recently spoke with Jeff De Cagna, Executive Advisor at Foresight First LLC, to discuss the way you think about board recruitment, management, and collaboration. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts here.

Podcast Description: This podcast discusses how nonprofit organizations might be missing a crucial opportunity for growth and relevance by underutilizing their boards. Jeff De Cagna is an author, speaker and advisor for associations and non-profit organizations across North America and around the world with decades of experience under his belt.

Foresight First LLC is a governing orientation that provides actionable insights on plausible futures by challenging association and non-profit boards to deal productively with the past so they can focus their attention on the future and pursue the generative work of transformation. To learn more about Foresight First LLC, visit their website at www.foresightfirst.io.

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To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST’s monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/
February 10, 2017

5 Enviable Traits of Top Nonprofit Employer

You may think that a decent wage and working for a mission matters most to nonprofit workers, but there are key things that the best nonprofit employers do to give their staff that extra boost – helping retain them longer and providing a more satisfactory workplace.
Here are our top 5 organizational traits that make a nonprofit the best place to work:

1. Give them room to grow. Employees need to know their duties and their responsibilities are recognized, and that there is a clear path to growth. Recognizing those employees that are eager to take on more can help you craft an upward moving path for them. And remember it’s okay to ask! What do they see themselves doing? What can they offer? Letting them feel involved in their own future gives them confidence in themselves and their leaders.

2. Have mentors. The next leaders are already in our midst. Giving them the tools they need – direct from the experts – is pertinent to maintaining a strong nonprofit sector. Who’s better than leaders within your own organization to provide this? Sometimes assigning a formal mentor to an employee is necessary to build this type of relationship. Consulting with your executives and even executives at other organizations as to who they can stand by and provide career direction, might just open some doors to some true talent development.

3. Ensure a fair workplace. Limited HR staff often means nonprofits are “winging it” when it comes to applying workplace rules. But are the rules fair, and more importantly, do they follow the law? You might think closing the office for a week during Christmas is okay if you require employees to work Saturdays leading up to the holiday (this is a true story), but that would be classified as overtime and not paying them appropriately could cause a damaging lawsuit for your organization. Wrongful terminations are another big source of costly legal exposure.

4. Train your managers to be the best. Employee satisfaction often starts with having the right guidance. Training your managers to be great managers helps provide the framework for the entire organization. People often leave managers, not companies… and because good leaders aren't born (they're created), providing leadership education and management-skill training is vital to helping build the leadership an organization needs to retain employees. UST offers 200+ free online training courses for managers and employees when you join the UST Program, which is exclusive to nonprofit organizations.

5. Acknowledge they have lives outside of work. As an employer you might think your role starts and stops during the 9-5 job. But recognizing that life-work balance is important, and giving employees options like flexible hours, working from home occasionally, discounted gym memberships or sponsorship of activities like registration in a race or creating a softball team, can help foster more happiness and productivity at work. With many for-profit companies making these types of moves, it’s important to recognize how the nonprofit sector can provide equally satisfactory jobs for workers. There are all kinds of ways nonprofits make a difference for their employees. Tell us some of your ways on facebook!
January 30, 2017

[Podcast] How Digital Strategy Enables Nonprofit Growth

Through the Noise interviewed Kiki L’Italien, CEO & Founder of Amplified Growth , to provide nonprofit employers the latest digital marketing tips they need to reach and engage current and potential members. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts .

Podcast Description: This podcast discusses why it’s important to understand and utilize SEO and SEM—search engine optimization and search engine marketing—when looking to amplify your nonprofit’s voice. Kiki L’Italien explains how to get to know who you are trying to reach, where they spend their time, and how to meet them where they are.

Amplified Growth is a DC-based digital marketing consultancy specializing in SEO, social media, and content strategy for associations and commercial clients. To learn more about Amplified Growth, visit their website at http://www.amplifiedgrowth.net.

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To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST's monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/enews
December 22, 2016

[Free Webinar] New Year, New President, New HR Challenges

President-elect Trump’s agenda for employment law is still being formulated, but one thing is certain: change is coming. Business managers and HR practitioners need to be ready, and we can help.

Presented by ThinkHR, this webinar will explore the practical impacts employers need to know now in the following areas:
  • Affordable Care Act regulations and reporting
  • Immigration status verification and reporting
  • Wage and hour changes EEOC enforcement and reporting activity
  • Paid family leave
  • And more!

When: Two dates available (Thursday, January 5th or Tuesday, January 10th at 8:30 am PDT)

Register: http://pages.thinkhr.com/HR-in-2017-Webinar.html

Register Now

This webinar offers 1 HRCI and 1 SHRM professional development credit. Want access to more HR-certified webinar opportunities and a live HR hotline? Visit www.chooseust.org/thinkhr/ and sign up for a FREE 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.

November 23, 2016

[Podcast] Mergers & Acquisitions for Nonprofits

Through the Noise interviewed Melissa Panagides, Senior Manager of Management Advisory Services at BDO USA , to discuss mergers and acquisitions within the nonprofit sector. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts here .

Podcast Description: This podcast breaks down the difficult questions that surround a company acquisition and provides expert information on how to plan ahead, manage expectations, and how to support the people within organization during this difficult time.

BDO USA, LLP is known primarily as an accounting firm. The Management Advisory team supports organizations that are going through or considering change and focus on helping organizations identify the right technology for their needs by transforming their business. In addition, they help to plan and implement mergers and acquisitions for organizations across the globe.  To learn more about BDO USA, visit their website at www.bdo.com.

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To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST's monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/enews
November 08, 2016

Important Information about Affordable Care Act Reporting for 2016

The final forms and instructions that employers will use for 2016 reporting under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Employers that provided basic healthcare coverage on a self-funded basis in 2016 are required to report the names and social security numbers (SSNs) of all covered individuals. While this is the second year of reporting for most employers, many still struggle with the process of how to effectively report SSN’s for all covered individuals and their dependents.

If you are an applicable large employer (ALE) that employed 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees during the current reporting year, you must report to the IRS whether or not you did or didn’t offer healthcare coverage by completing Form 1095-C and 1094-C.

The requirement to report enrollment information on each covered individual, including dependent names and SSNs, only applies to employers that self-fund a minimum essential coverage health plan (e.g., major medical, PPO, HDHP). For an ALE, the self-funded plan enrollment information is reported in Part III of Form 1095-C while a “small” (non-ALE) employer reports the information in Part IV of Form 1095-B.

You can review a copy of the IRS proposed regulation on TIN solicitationhere.

This article was adapted from ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace provided to UST members at no additional cost. Get answers to your HR questions and sign your nonprofit up for a free30-day trial. 

November 04, 2016

5 Ways to Get Involved in Nonprofit Awareness Month

Did you know that nonprofits comprise more than 10% of all private sector employment in the country, accounting for 11.4 million employees according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? In fact, if the nonprofit sector were a country, it would have the seventh largest economy in the world.

UST wants to honor all the nonprofits that make a difference every day, all year long—and the amazing individuals that lead them.

We know it’s not easy running a nonprofit and here at UST our sole purpose is to “help nonprofits save money in order to advance their missions.” We’re especially proud to support the efforts of our 2,000 nonprofit members and 80 national and state nonprofit association affinity partners.

For Nonprofit Awareness Month, we wanted to share some ways individuals and nonprofits can boost their passions and causes, and gain awareness of all that nonprofits do, too:
 
  1. Share. Your state nonprofit association may have ideas on how you can support nonprofit awareness via social media. For example, the Delaware Alliance of Nonprofit Advancement’s campaign asks you to print out a flyer, take a picture of yourself holding it, and post it to social media with the hashtag #npawareDE. You can even simply share stories and images about a nonprofit you work for or volunteer with using Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and other platforms.
  2. Volunteer. You can get directly involved in the success of local nonprofits and share your experiences with others. Go to www.volunteermatch.org to find the type of volunteering project that works for you.
  3. Give. Find a charity you care about, make a donation and encourage others to give. And don’t forget, your donation is typically tax deductible! The Association of Fundraising Professionals provides these 5 P’s of Wise Giving.
  4. Learn. Find out 7 myths about nonprofits that you may not have known. And we’ll add one more myth: “the word nonprofit needs a hyphen…” Nope, get rid of that pesky dash!
  5. Advocate. You can find your elected officials online and make your cause known. Write them a letter, email or call them and take your messages and concerns to them. If you work for a nonprofit, here are some conversation guidelines courtesy of DANA:


- I am [Your Name] and I work for [Organization]. Our nonprofit employs [x] people and mobilize [y] volunteers in your district.

- Our missionj is to [Your Mission].

- We can be a resource for you on[Topics]. Please call on us if we can be of assistance.

- We would also like for you to be our guest at [Your Organization] when you are in the district. Please contact me or I am happy to follow up with you to see if we can schedule something.

Do you have a favorite nonprofit? Tell us on Facebook
  Note: UST does not receive compensation for any links in this article, nor is it responsible for the content on any of the sites to which it links. This is purely educational folks!
October 29, 2016

So Your Nonprofit has Strong Leaders…Now What?

Nonprofits tend to attract strong leaders with high aspirations and an unparalleled focus. But without step-by-step workflow procedures, consistent communication or designated responsibilities, even the strongest of leaders won’t be able to improve upon their organization’s effectiveness.

Utilize these 4 methods to create a more balanced and productive workplace:
 
  1. Identify both short and long-term priorities. Creating measurable goals will help your nonprofit measure progress on an annual basis, allowing you to determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Prioritizing these goals will keep everyone on the same page and help accomplish objectives at a more efficient pace.
  2. Break down communication barriers. Share your organization’s priorities with all employees whilst ensuring that their current roles contribute to each goal. Don’t forget to encourage cross-department communication to achieve faster, consistent results.
  3. Assign responsibilities so employees maintain ownership. Because employees spend more time and energy devoted to tasks that they’re solely responsible for, give your team members individual responsibilities that directly impact your nonprofit’s goals. This will help alleviate any confusion when employees are determining who’s in charge of what.
  4. Clearly define the work processes. Taking the time to carefully articulate the work procedures will improve consistency and time management. Because your employees will be fully versed in the new processes, they will make less mistakes and develop a greater confidence in their work ethic.


As a nonprofit leader, you have the power to portray change as a necessary evil or an ongoing opportunity. By setting a positive example and carefully managing both your nonprofit’s goals and employees, you can encourage your staff to constantly challenge themselves and broaden their skill sets—increasing overall organizational effectiveness.

Learn more about how to improve leadership and management practices here.
October 25, 2016

How to Distinguish Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Performing small business payroll can be both difficult and critical to effectively avoiding the all-too-tricky claim type, “independent contractor vs employee.”

Nonprofit employers must take the time to learn the distinguishing characteristics of an employee of an organization and an independent contractor, who are self-employed individuals. If and when you make a mistake when classifying these two worker categories, not only will this mix-up lead to high penalties, but you may have to outsource for payroll assistance—costing your organization both valuable time and money.

In general, here’s how you differentiate the two workers:

  • Employee – anyone who performs services and the company can control what is done
  • Independent Contractor – anyone who performs services and the company only has the right to control the result of the work and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result

To avoid overpayments, rework for the employer and state, and potential investigations from the IRS, employers should use either the ABC Test or the Common Law Test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.

Both tests are designed to readily identify the worker-employer relationship, focusing on how much control the organization has over a worker and the work accomplished. Check out both the ABC Test and Common Law Test here to ensure your nonprofit’s compliance.

This article was adapted from Equifax Workforce Solutions, UST’s dedicated unemployment claims administrator.

UST members receive exclusive access to an online claims dashboard, e-filing capabilities, a state-specific claims representative and 100% representation at unemployment claims hearings. To find out if your nonprofit qualifies for the UST program, fill out a free Savings Evaluation today or call us at 888-249-4788.

October 17, 2016

[Podcast] Building Capacity and Strengthening Culture

Through the Noise interviewed Elizabeth Scott, CEO of Brighter Strategies, to help nonprofit employers improve their overall effectiveness by building their internal capacity. Listen below or check out the full library of podcasts.

Podcast Description: This podcast emphasizes the importance of harnessing the emotional intelligence of staff members so that organization can do the most with what they have. Dr. Elizabeth Scott aims to provide thought leadership and high value organizational development consulting in an effort to strengthen the nonprofit sector.

Brighter Strategies is a non-profit consulting firm that works with non-profit organizations as a “thought partner” to help build capacity and make the most of their greatest asset—their human capital. To learn more about Brighter Strategies, visit their website at www.brighterstrategies.com.

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To stay up-to-date on the latest best practice tips and cost-saving ideas just for nonprofits, sign up for UST's monthly eNews: http://www.chooseust.org/enews

October 13, 2016

Webinar: New Accounting Standards Nonprofits Need to Know

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued the Accounting Standards Update 2016-14, which contains significant changes to not-for-profit accounting standards, focusing on improving, enhancing and simplifying financial statement reporting requirements.

In this 60-minute webinar, Jay Azar, Director of Not-for-Profit Practice Services at Lindquist, LLP, talks about how your organization can begin to prepare your accounting and financial reporting systems for these important changes.

Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Displaying the current three fund categories of Unrestricted, Temporarily Restricted and Permanently Restricted funds has changed to two fund categories of “Funds Without Donor Restrictions” and “Funds With Donor Restrictions.”
  • Requiring the use of a classified balance sheet and allowing for display of assets with limited use.
  • Requiring that information provided about expenses for the period will be presented both by functional and natural classifications for all not-for-profits.

After watching the presentation, you'll feel more confident and prepared for handling the accounting and financial reporting processes at your nonprofit.

Watch the webinar on-demand now.

This webinar series is part of UST's efforts to educate the nonprofit sector. Sign up to receive UST's monthly eNews for more free learning opportunities just for nonprofits like you!

September 14, 2016

HR Question: Employee Engagement Surveys

Question: What are some tips for developing and conducting an employee engagement survey?

Answer: An employee engagement survey can be a great tool to check the temperature of your culture. When done right, the survey can help you understand the needs of your employees, which in turn benefits productivity, job satisfaction and supports employee retention. It is also an excellent tool to help you calibrate the quality of your leadership as well as your employee relations and talent management programs.

Before you start, however, ensure that the management team is ready to act on the critical feedback you’ll get. Then decide what it is you need to know. Do you want to better understand how your employees view their relationship with management, understand and support the company’s strategic direction, or learn what aspects of their work environment, compensation and benefits, work assignments, and opportunities for learning and advancement are working (or not working)?

Next, determine how you will create, disseminate, tabulate, and communicate the survey process and results. If you’re creating your own survey, consider gathering employees from different areas of the company to formulate the survey questions and include them in the employee communications process to encourage participation. This team can also be instrumental in reviewing the survey results and providing feedback about how those results should be communicated and acted upon.

Another option is to use one of the many online engagement survey tools available in the marketplace. While the questions may not be as personalized to your company issues, you can get the surveys, along with the tabulated results, done quickly.

If you do create the survey in-house, consider these best practice tips:

  • First, determine whether the survey identifies the respondents. Confidential surveys typically yield higher response rates and include more candid feedback. With these surveys, be sure to include department or other group data to assist you later in analyzing feedback and specific action items that may be tied to one group. The decision to include identifying information is generally tied to the level of openness and trust in an organization’s culture.
  • Ask relevant questions. Ask questions that employees can — and want to — answer about their employment relationship with the company.
  • Make it simple and easy to complete. Keep the survey short. Employees may not take the time to complete a lengthy survey with in-depth questions. Save those types of questions for the follow-up action planning.
  • Provide an open comment area. Give employees an opportunity to comment at the end of the survey and add any additional information not covered by the questions.
  • Make the results actionable. Follow up on survey results so employees know they are heard and appreciated.

Encourage participation by using incentives or contests. With more feedback, you’ll have a better picture of your employees’ engagement level. Train your leaders so that they are prepared to use the survey feedback as a gift to improve performance and have productive feedback and performance improvement planning sessions.

Most importantly, don’t ask for employee feedback unless you are willing to do something with the results. Your employees will expect you to implement changes and take action. Let them know how much you value and respect them by listening and acting on their opinions and ideas.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 30-day trial here.

October 02, 2014

Develop a Plan Before Developing Your Nonprofit’s Future Leaders

Your nonprofit may have the time, mentors and training courses needed to mold up-and-coming leaders, but do you have a plan of action that takes full advantage of this developmental support system?

Setting measurable goals and creating systematic procedures for leadership development programs will enable you to address leadership skill gaps at a more efficient pace. Follow these 4 steps to implement an effective leadership development plan, while gaining support from your current management team:
 
  1. Get your Board and other Decision-Makers involved. Have your executive staff participate in the brainstorming process when creating leadership development procedures. If your Board members make leadership strategy a priority, and clearly communicate their expectations, your team can better identify and work toward future leadership objectives.
  2. Identify your leadership strengths and weaknesses. Having a firm understanding of your nonprofit’s mission and organizational priorities is crucial when identifying skill gaps. Once you decide what future leadership capabilities are required, you can begin training internally and/or seeking new leadership candidates.
  3. Continuously raise the bar and increase task ownership. Prospective leaders will accrue most of their knowledge and skills through hands-on learning, rather than formal training. Therefore, you must provide consistent assignments that test their leadership competency by taking them out of their comfort zone and creating a greater sense of accountability. Don’t forget to provide ongoing feedback and recognize their successes.
  4. Review and improve procedures when necessary. Like your leadership candidates, development procedures must be carefully monitored and evaluated. Leadership development plans are often intricate—continue to tweak them so they meet your nonprofit’s specific needs. Taking the time to measure your procedures’ effectiveness, and edit when necessary, will help you build prospective pool of future leaders.


Discover more methods on how to create future leaders here.
September 24, 2014

Emergency Succession Planning: Is your nonprofit ready to stop, drop and roll?

If your Executive Director/CEO, CFO or COO suddenly couldn’t show up to work, would your organization be prepared?

Sometimes it’s sudden, like an accident or health crisis, and other times it’s simply a short term window to prepare for a leader leaving—but it is always important to have a backup plan when it comes to a leader’s absence.

It’s called emergency succession planning, and it’s critical to your organization’s survival.

Like any good emergency plan (think of those fire drills as a kid in school) – there should be clearly laid out steps to your emergency succession plan.  Ready to stop, drop, and roll?  Here are some basic elements to any good leader succession plan:
 
  1. Identify the key responsibilities and functions of the position that would need to be taken over in an emergency loss of a leader.
  2. Who are the people/titles internally who would take over these functions in the interim? Is it one person or multiple?
  3. Create a training and orientation plan for these backups.
  4. Who will the Acting CEO be? Consider whether an Interim CEO would be best for the coming 6-18 months and how you would recruit that role. Best practice states that the Interim CEO should not be an internal employee, so they can be a voice of neutrality for other employees and provide an outside perspective to identify opportunities for improvement.
  5. Determine what the Board’s role in the process will be. How will they be involved in selecting a new CEO, and how will they support the new CEO and the onboarding process?
  6. Have the emergency succession plan reviewed and adopted by your Board.


Learn more about emergency succession planning in this report.
September 19, 2014

The Harsh Yet Necessary Step Toward Nonprofit Growth

Bad habits can be contagious

Even your strongest staff members can be negatively influenced when working with bad employees. Pairing others with someone who is unmotivated and performing inadequately can cause a domino effect of poor performance—making the overall business suffer.

Poor employees could chase away top performers

Top tier employees want to work with others who are just as driven and focused as they are. When talented workers see poor behavior or lack of contribution go unnoticed, they will begin looking for alternative job opportunities—ones where they can work with other high performers and feel more appreciated.

Low performers take up valuable space

By keeping low performing employees, you could be missing out on a new crop of talent. But how can you hire these rockstar candidates if there are no available roles at your organization? Making room for strong individuals who are willing to take initiative and contribute to the team is imperative when building a strong organizational foundation.

Because nonprofits often work with limited budgets and resources, developing and retaining a top-notch staff is key to successfully attaining mission objectives. And while it’s never an easy task to fire a bad employee, you’re doing what’s necessary as a leader to keep your organization moving forward.

Learn more about talent development strategies here.
August 14, 2014

How an Effective Hiring Team can Recruit Top-Notch Employees

The hiring process can be daunting, time-consuming, and burdensome. For nonprofits especially, hiring the best-fit employee the first time around is vital. Often working with a limited budget and smaller staff size, nonprofit organizations must find a candidate that can quickly adapt and effectively work towards mission advancement objectives.

But how do you find the right employee? Simple. Recruit a hiring team internally before recruiting any potential staff.

The hiring team you assemble should be your recruitment backbone—helping you create the hiring timeline, outline specific role responsibilities, and conduct interviews.

Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when creating and working with your recruitment team:
  1. Select relevant team members—Pick people who have past experience with the incoming employee’s job role, as well as those who will be working with them directly. In general, the larger the organization, the more hiring team members you’ll need.
  2. Assign individual responsibilities—Decide which members are in charge of drafting the job description, advertising the job opening, organizing resumes, interviewing, making the final decision, etc.
  3. Identify current strengths and weaknesses—As a team, identify what your organization’s strategic goals are. What are your employees doing right? Where is there room for improvement?
  4. Decide what skills will address knowledge gaps—Once your hiring team decides what skill gaps exist within your nonprofit, list the specific tasks the new hire will be responsible for. Being honest about your nonprofit’s needs will make it easier when it’s time to write the job description/requirements.
  5. Create a timeline—Create a detailed schedule that maps out your entire hiring process. This should give deadlines for the job description, job promotional efforts, candidate interviews, and the final decision.
  6. Encourage open communication—Maintaining an open dialogue with your recruiting staff will not only build trust, but also lower the risk of making the wrong hiring decision. Listening to both positive and negative feedback can only strengthen future hiring endeavors.


Having the support of a dedicated hiring team can help speed up the hiring process, while increasing efficiency. Knowing when and how to engage your hiring staff can help you identify the best possible candidate for any potential position—giving your nonprofit the edge it needs accomplish mission objectives.

Learn more about how to select and utilize your recruitment team here.
August 08, 2014

Congratulations to the Nonprofits Honored as a Part of The Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50

The 17th annual catalog of The Nonprofit Times Power & Influence Top 50 shows an increased emphasis on the effective implementation of a more civil society. Those elected for the honor “illustrates the power of people pushing society for equal access and opportunity…[as] recently it seems that the insistence for inclusion has need ratcheting up and sector leaders have responded.”

Everyone at UST wou

 

ld like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to those included. We’d also like to thank all of the organizations that we work with for continuing to fight the good fight and make a difference for those around them.

See the full list of innovators being recognized by this years’ Power & Influence Top 50 here.

 

August 05, 2014

How to Get Your Employees on Board with Organizational Change

Discomfort; insecurity; apprehension; fear. These are just a handful of emotions people experience when plans for organizational change surface in the workplace. The idea of change tends to scare people because they will be forced to step outside of their comfort zones and embrace the unknown.


Altering such negative perceptions surrounding change requires a heavy emphasis on internal solidarity. And since the only way to effectively maintain change is through widespread support from your staff, learning how to acknowledge and address employee feedback is key. Specifically for nonprofits, internal collaboration is vital when it comes finding new ways to advance one’s mission.

Follow these 5 easy steps to create sustainable changes within your nonprofit:
 
  1. Provide the facts and research—Explain what changes you are looking to achieve, and why. Providing the reasons behind your decisions will help your employees view each change as a necessity. In addition, offering the chance to provide feedback will also give your employees a greater sense of control.
  2. Spend extra time educating the leadership team—Because your staff leaders are in charge of teaching and supporting their employees, it’s important to make sure they understand the logic behind every change that is being implemented.
  3. Move from generalizations to specifics—The ease that comes with everyday tasks can make it difficult to alter employees’ common behaviors. Identifying your employees’ shared behaviors and habits will help you focus on what needs to change within the company culture as a whole.
  4. Embrace the “slow but steady” mentality—In order to create lasting change, recognize that your employees are experiencing a great deal of uncertainty. Allowing your employees to slowly modify their behaviors can help them more readily adjust to ongoing changes.
  5. Share the positive results with everyone—Positive reinforcement is always a great way to preserve change. When they see immediate wins and profit as a direct result of their changes, your employees are likely to stay committed to their changed behaviors.


Change is what keeps nonprofits moving forward. Taking the time to foster cooperation amongst your employees is the easiest way to create lasting change—which provides ongoing opportunity for organizational growth within the nonprofit sector.

Learn more about how to gain employee support for organizational change here.
July 17, 2014

Do Teams Trump Individuals?

A few years ago a social researcher invited a group of 50 or so participants to enter a room full of balloons, find the balloon with their name written on it, and sit down before 5 minutes passed. The scene was chaotic. Not surprisingly, none of the participants were sitting down at the 5 minute mark.

The speaker then asked the participants to perform the search again as a collaborative group. He suggested they each pick up one balloon and find the owner of that balloon.

If you haven’t already heard about the study findings, which recently began to go viral, all of the participants were sitting down, with their unique balloon, well before the 5 minute mark.

For the past couple of decades, researchers have been performing live social experiments like this one to illustrate the power of teamwork and collaborative effort. Out of this body of work has come some pretty powerful information that can improve your organization—and it’s collaborative results—if used well.

Not least among the information sets that have been discovered, is the fact that companies that have the best collaborative teams are 10 times more likely to reach high financial goals as those who don’t. So what is it that makes the best teams?

According to MIT researchers, the best teams:
 
  • Are socially responsive to one another and pick up on one another’s cues and body language,
  • Collaborate and contribute more or less equally,
  • Operate in a climate of safety that encourages creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and
  • Provide candid feedback to one another.


If you’re team is not performing as well as you would like them to, or if your team is fairly homogenous—which researchers have repeatedly found discourages a healthy level of creativity— this article from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) suggests appointing someone within your team to play devil’s advocate.

Other suggestions to improve the collaborative working environment within your team include:
 
  • Anticipate conflicts and set down guidelines for how your team will handle them
  • Encourage your team to socialize outside of work—it’s a shortcut to improving collaboration and allowing teams to become more socially responsive to one another
  • Recognize, reward, and celebrate collaborative behavior
  • Think systematically, but make innovation of the utmost concern
  • Let those who benefit from your organization weigh in from time to time
April 24, 2014

Could Nonprofits Lose Employees to Business?

In an interesting Op-Ed in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the magazine predicted nonprofits will lose workers to the for-profit sector if they don't feel a sense of purpose. The author, Aaron Hurst, states that researchers have found that employees need 3 things to feel a sense of purpose within their work:
 
  • Opportunities to grow
  • Relationships with employees and others involved in the work
  • To create something greater than themselves
"Wait, wait," you might shout. "My organization gives employees all of those things." And chances are, you're right. But sometimes employees find that the day-to-day business of operating a nonprofit gets in the way of feeling that they are a part of something.

Worse, a disconnect between daily tasks and feeling a sense of purpose can lead to frustration in your employees. Hurst cites one high-level executive who made the switch from the nonprofit sector to the corporate world because she didn't feel her work was impacting the mission of her organization.

But what is your organization supposed to do? How do you re-engage employees that feel their contribution doesn't affect the overall mission of your organization?

Hurst explains that his 3 mantras are:
 
  • Continue to fight Goliaths (ie. supersize your ambitions)
  • Figure out what drives employees
  • Train managers and human resource executives to be community organizers
We've added a few additional suggestions though.
 
  • Make a formal retention plan.
  • Thank your employees, and let them know what their work helped the organization accomplish this year. And don't think "thank you's" have to be grand gestures. Taking the time to regularly acknowledge the effort and impact of someone's work can make a big difference in the long run.
January 28, 2014

Understanding Your Future Leadership Needs

There comes a time at every nonprofit that conversation must shift—whether naturally or through force—to future leadership needs. But often, founder’s syndrome, overbooked schedules, and fear of change squelch the conversation or muffle the sounds of potential future leaders leaving.

But few nonprofits should actually be afraid of leadership development since often it indicates growth and mission success.

When your organization is open to examining your current organizational goals and is ready to actively assess your employees and positions to see if you have the employee talent to lead your organization forward, there are hundreds of resources for leadership development.

Thankfully, The Bridgespan Group has put together a Nonprofit Leadership Development toolkit, with videos based off of their own leadership development research, that can help you tie the skills and talents your organization will need into your strategic planning efforts.

Watch the first video here.

UST’s ThinkHR hotline can also help you prepare for future leadership needs with expert job description builders, salary benchmarking tools and more than 200 on-demand courses for both management and employees! Visit the webpage here.

Learn more about the HR resources available to UST members by calling (888)249-4788 today.
January 26, 2014

Before You Add a New (Young) Board Member, Read This!

The Millennial generation has been getting a lot of press over the past few years, and often the coverage is decidedly unkind, with a focus on personalities that feel entitled to a “participation trophy,” are lazy, and don’t respect their elders at work. With an engrained focus on technology and change previously unseen in former generations, Millennials have made a lot of people uncomfortable and have been called out repeatedly for it.

But according to research done by the Social & Demographic Trends arm of the Pew Research Center, Millennials are forging an identity that is “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat, and open to change”-- which makes them perfect candidates for your next open Board seat. (Read the full report here.)

Creative and highly adaptive, many Millennials are defined by their upbeat energy, positive outlook and high level of inclusion. Conversely many Boards are getting a bad rap for being exclusive, untouchable, and far too opaque in their conservative decision-making.

According to advocates for younger board members, having Millennials on your board has many benefits and advances your organization in ways that may be overlooked by those quick to dismiss the young. These include:
 
  • Passion for your mission and organization
  • Access to fresh, new networks and a strong knowledge of how to continue building them
  • Future leadership potential and the ability to act as a bridge to other future leaders
  • Technologically savvy with a knack for teaching other generations the benefits of a technological shift


Read more of the benefits of having younger board members on your Board.

Take the quiz to find out how Millennial you are.

Do you have younger board members at your organization? How did you find them? Tell us about your board demographic!
December 03, 2013

#GivingTuesday and the #Unselfie Bring In the Big Bucks

On Tuesday, December 3rd, the second annual #GivingTuesday took place. Encouraging people all over the world to take place in what started as a national day of giving, the campaign celebrates and contributes to the success of charitable activities that support millions of nonprofit organizations.

This year online donations by Blackbaud rose 90% to $19.2-million, with the average gift hovering around $142. Network for Good, which also processes online donations, said it handled $1.8-million in gifts on Tuesday.

In 2012 there were more than 2,000 recognized #GivingTuesday partners in the U.S. During that 24-hour period, Blackbaud processed more than $10 million in donations while DonorPerfect recorded a 46% increase in online donations on that day over the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in 2011.

The #Unselfie, in which participants take a picture of themselves holding a piece of paper with the name of a charity they support-- either through volunteer work or donations-- and post it to their social media networks, helped contribute to the trend and was a leading keyword in the days leading up to Tuesday.

What was your favorite #GivingTuesday campaign? Tell us about it on Facebook and Twitter.
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