Blogs

November 19, 2021

How to Grow into a Nonprofit Leader

Whether you’re aspiring to be an executive leader, get promoted into a director’s position, or even launch your own nonprofit—rarely there are clearly defined paths to career development when working in the nonprofit sector. While this lack of structure can be challenging, it offers an unexpected opportunity to pave or create your own career path. Without the typical career ladder to climb, the opportunity to take on new responsibilities could be presented to you in a more timely fashion. At any age, with drive, desire and expertise being essential characteristics, you can become a nonprofit leader who wants to make a difference.

In order to create the right professional development plan, here are nine methods to follow, to consider, and use as a guide when furthering ones’ professional career as a nonprofit leader:

1) Conduct thorough interviews: Find those who hold a position that you might aspire to want one day. Take the opportunity to ask questions about how they got to where they are, what their day-to-day tasks look like, how they contribute to the organization, and what the position requires of them.  

2) Seek out volunteer opportunities: When it comes to learning, especially within the nonprofit sector, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. Volunteering can offer exposure to the operational facets of the organization by taking on new responsibilities, such as, join the fundraising or strategic planning committee or volunteer to help with the organization’s next event.

3) Ongoing education: If you’re looking for an advantage when pursuing leadership opportunities, consider looking into continuing education (i.e.: an advanced degree, or a specific leadership training program). Having this additional training under your belt will set you apart being well versed in business management principles and the ability to juggle competing priorities.

4) Learn about your organization: Take the time to develop a well-rounded view of everything that is involved in the role of running a nonprofit. This experience will be valuable to you as you progress into a leadership position.

5) Apply constructive feedback: As you take on new challenges and work outside your comfort zone, it’s more than likely you’ll make mistakes along the way. Take the time to learn from these and plan how you will do better in the future.

6) Network amongst your peers: Find people who are at a similar point in their own careers and develop genuine relationships with them. Be sure that you add real value to the relationship and that way, your peers will come to value you—opening doors for you in the future.

7) Relocate to another organization: With a strong foundation of skills in place and a desire to take on more responsibility, you might find that your current organization doesn’t have any openings for you to move up to. Take this opportunity to look for other employment and if you find a great position within your network, don’t hesitate to pursue it.

8) Join a nonprofit board: Being part of a board will give you high-level insights about the inner workings of nonprofits. Develop relationships with others who serve on nonprofit boards and seek out an organization doing work/serving a community that you’re passionate about.

9) Find day-to-day challenges: Leaders face challenges daily, so it is crucial to avoid becoming complacent. Striving to challenge yourself on a daily basis will not only push you to find solutions, it will help you build your resume.

When applying these methods, you will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully lead an organization. If you envision yourself in a leadership role, you’ll have the ability to lay the foundation by excelling in the position you currently hold. These methods will help you cultivate leadership skills, emphasize teamwork and inclusive decision-making.

November 10, 2021

Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Team

One of the main reasons employees leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated—causing many to question their work and often looking for a job elsewhere. Not surprisingly, but now more than ever before employees expect their workplace to deliver a productive, engaging, and enjoyable experience so to keep high performing employees on the payroll, leaders must consider recognition efforts a top priority. Celebrating achievements at work is also an important part of the productivity cycle and can transform the organization by keeping everyone aligned to the mission and values that contribute to its long-term success.

Impactful recognition has little to do with money and doesn’t need to be extravagant to be effective—it should however be genuine and come from a place of appreciation. It’s important that leaders celebrate wins big and small as both are equally valuable and impactful. Often missed opportunities to celebrate an employee include successful completion of large or new projects, teamwork, work anniversaries, and ongoing behavior that positively impacts fellow co-workers. When a manager takes the time to regularly demonstrate gratitude and appreciation for an employee’s accomplishments—both professional and personal—it can motive, engage, and reinforce positive behaviors and outcomes.

Remind your employees that you value their contributions and celebrate their successes. Check out UST’s 5 Ways to Celebrate Your Team for some creative ways you can start recognizing your team. 

It's up to leaders to find opportunities to celebrate their employees while also encouraging employees to celebrate each other. By creating a culture of recognition, you can improve morale and ensure your most valuable assets remain motivated to stay.

November 05, 2021

HR Question: Disciplining Employees

Question: What are some typical examples of employee discipline? Are there any you recommend?

Answer: Discipline should reflect the severity of the behavior, attempt to correct it, and be applied consistently. You’ll want to consider how you addressed certain behaviors in the past and the precedent you want to set for the future. For instance, if you jump straight to a final warning when a certain employee is an hour late to work, but let another employee come in late regularly without so much as a written warning, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.

We generally recommend progressive discipline. This means you start small and work your way up to termination. Progressive discipline often includes these steps:

  • Oral counseling/warning(s)
  • Written warning(s)
  • Final written warning
  • Unpaid suspension
  • Termination

At each step, make your expectations clear, notify the employee of the consequences if they fail to improve (that they’ll be one step closer to termination), and document what actions you took. The warnings you give to the employee should stick to the facts, i.e., what infraction was observed, when it occurred, and what policy or policies were violated. Opinions about the infraction should be left out, as these are easily disputed. For example, “Yesterday, you arrived 20 minutes late in violation of our attendance policy” simply states the facts, whereas “You’re always tardy and can’t be trusted to arrive on time” is likely to get pushback.

Q&A provided by Mineral, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial here. As a UST member, simply log into your Mineral portal to access live HR certified consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses, an extensive compliance library, and more.

October 28, 2021

2021 Employer Guide: Nonprofit Leadership Development

A strong leadership team is vital to the success of any nonprofit organization—without it you risk reduced productivity, delayed decisions, and low morale. Rooted in the ability of a nonprofit to maintain sustainability, having a leadership succession plan in place is vital to organizational success.

Don't miss your chance to download a free copy of UST's latest Employer Guide, 3 Vital Steps for Developing a Durable Nonprofit Leadership Team, to discover strategies that can help identify (and develop) tomorrow's leaders with training opportunities designed to strengthen your brand and build resilient teams. In this eBook, you'll discover:

  • How to determine who your future leaders are
  • Tips for crafting leadership development opportunities
  • Ideas for managing leadership vacancies and executing transitions

The consequences of insufficient leadership can be devastating to an organization. Safeguard your nonprofit and its mission by reinventing your organizational leadership strategy—minimizing the threat (and high cost) of turnover.

October 22, 2021

Best Practice Tips for Successfully Managing a Remote Workforce

Flexible work arrangements have been around for decades but now that we’re beginning to see the new era of work take shape it’s more important than ever to support and manage remote teams in a way that allows them to work effectively from home—ensuring sustainability of day-to-day operations. Managing employees without daily face-to-face interaction has its own unique set of challenges but when leaders focus their skills on the right set of best practices employees—and organizations—can excel.

Being proficient at managing remote employees requires strong communication skills, reachability, positive reinforcement, flexibility, and empathy. Productivity is no longer based on “desk time” and visible activity, managers must now gauge success based on outcomes and revise how they lead their people while finding new ways to keep them engaged.

Implement these best practice tips to improve morale, productivity, and engagement.

  1. Set clear expectations and healthy boundaries— Provide guidelines, clarify priorities, and set boundaries. Working from home makes it much easier for work to seep into other areas of life. Ensure your team understands what is expected of them—specifically around working hours and availability, performance and what defines success.
  2. Define the why — Ensure your team knows their role in helping the organization to achieve success and maintain sustainability.One’s sense of pride and accomplishment for their work is directly tied to productivity and when employees are happy with their work, they feel valued, see the impact, and want to stay with the organization.  
  3. Communicate — Remote employees can feel disconnected which can lead to a whole host of other problems. You can combat this with regular and meaningful communication, recognizing that motivated employees are more productive and engaged. Keep workers up to date on policy and staffing changes and company successes and give praise and positive reinforcement as often as possible. The longer you go without communicating with your team, the more likely they are to become disengaged from their work.
  4. Schedule regular check-ins — More frequent use of video conferencing can help to strengthen the relationship between manager and employee as well as the team as a whole. Always set aside some time for small talk—asking about their weekend or plans for an upcoming holiday can help them feel more connected. These check-ins also allow your staff the opportunity to provide updates on their work and express any frustrations they may be experiencing.
  5. Take advantage of technology — Tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Monday.com provide solutions to some of the biggest challenges a remote workforce experiences and can help to bring remote co-workers together through face-to-face conversations and collaboration. Not to mention can also help with project management and daily task tracking.
  6. Focus on outcomes, not hours worked — Trust is crucial in this day and age of work. It erodes your employees’ trust and confidence. Providing expectations (goals and desired results) surrounding work priorities and then allowing employees to own the execution can enhance creativity, reduces stress, and build morale.
  7. Provide what they need — Make it a point to regularly ask your employees if they have what they need in order to do their job successfully. As company initiatives and goals evolve, their needs may change by way of what technology they use to get the job done. Set them up for ongoing success.
  8. Show compassion, patience, and empathy — The remote work environment is a completely different ball game than being in an office where there aren’t children playing, dogs barking, or Amazon ring the doorbell. All of these distractions can cause unforeseen stress, both physical and emotional, damaging productivity and your bottom line. The most successful managers are good listeners and asking for employee feedback opens the pathway to great conversations and shows you genuinely care.
  9. Don’t forget about team building — Bonding activities help foster a sense of unity, boosts morale, and builds connections. Virtual events such as online Bingo, Tiny Campfire, remote MTV Cribs, escape rooms, or happy hour are wildly popular.  
  10. Celebrate successes — Now more than ever, your employees need positive reinforcement to keep them motivated. Celebrate milestones and daily accomplishments with a shout-out, host virtual competition games or team luncheons, send e-Cards for work anniversaries and birthdays, or host an Employee Appreciation Day.  You’ll want to plan ahead and get creative.

There are many ways to develop better relationships with a remote team that include transparent communication, open doors, and clear expectations to name a few. Micromanaging employees has never been a favorable practice and can cause undue stress for employees—leaving them to feel like they’re not trusted to do their work. While these best practice tips require time, attention, and consistency, they can help to develop healthy habits that allow your team to maintain productivity and achieve goals.

October 14, 2021

2021 Nonprofit Workforce Trends Infographic

 

As employers continue to strategize for the future—paving the way for flexible work models and creative retention tactics—many are seeing permanent change take place. UST surveyed more than 400 nonprofit leaders from across the U.S. to uncover the latest sector trends caused by the pandemic and created the 2021 Workforce Trends Infographic.

Download your free copy today to get a sneak peak at what your nonprofit peers had to share about their top workforce issues, COVID's impact on staffing levels and more.

For only $99, you can also download a copy of the complete 2021 Nonprofit Sector Report to uncover valuable insight on how nonprofits continue to navigate the ongoing challenges that have risen throughout the pandemic.

October 08, 2021

HR Question: Overwhelmed Employees

Question: Generally, our employees are "always on," meaning they check work emails and communicate with co-workers/supervisors via smartphone during all hours. However, some of our employees are beginning to feel overwhelmed. Any suggestions?

Answer: Although employers may see the “always on” employee as highly productive, the constant state of being readily available can leave employees feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. To combat this struggle, employers may elect:

  • Elect to simplify the workplace and clearly outline expectations of employees during non-working hours.
  • Implement more flexible workplace standards encouraging employees to take time off and teach employees how to prioritize the constant flow of work. Employees inundated with information overload will benefit from streamlined information that is easy to understand and apply.
  • Teach employees how to delegate tasks and help employees learn new skills to manage their time so as to decrease the sense of a “workaholic” environment.
  • Outsource tasks to free up employee time.
  • Direct supervisors to not send employees emails or message employees after standard working hours so as to put employees more at ease and not feel the pressure to be “always on.”

Note: The application of any new or existing workplace policy must be applied consistently and without discrimination throughout the workforce. 

Q&A provided by Mineral, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial here. As a UST member, simply log into your Mineral portal to access live HR certified consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses, an extensive compliance library, and more.

September 29, 2021

2021 People Risk Management Toolkit

Hiring new employees can be time-consuming, costly, and stressful. Pre-employment assessments can be useful in determining whether or not a potential new hire is a good fit candidate—with the right skills and mind set for your organization. A proven, scientific way to screen candidates and mitigate the risks of hiring mistakes, incorporating pre-employment testing can be the most effective way to gain a more thorough picture of a candidate's strengths, skills and personality.

As we know, people-related risks within an nonprofit organization can range from bad hires and misconduct to harassment and lack of diversity in the workplace. To help nonprofit employers strengthen their employee risk management practices—and mitigate the risks that can ultimately affect your bottom line—we created the 2021 People Risk Management Toolkit.

This toolkit includes a performance improvement plan, a risk audit questionnaire, risk management best practice tips and more:

  1. Essential People Risk Management Practices
  2. People Risk Management Audit Questionnaire
  3. The People Risk Management Scorecard
  4. The Cost of People Related Risks Tool
  5. EEO Self-Identification Form
  6. Anti-Harassment Policy Checklist
  7. Whitepaper: Emergency Preparedness Plan
  8. The Importance of New Hire Assessments
  9. Performance Improvement Plan
  10. Webinar Recording: Supporting Nonprofit Sustainability During a Crisis

Take the time to thoroughly vet your candidates before hiring. The cost of pre-employment screening is minimal compared to the cost of hiring someone who doesn't stay. Not to mention, that an employee who isn't a good fit—for the job or your workforce—can also impact the entire team and overall morale.

If you’re looking for access to more HR-specific articles, templates and checklists? Sign up for a FREE 60-Day Trial of UST HR Workplace today! You'll also gain access to live HR certified consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses and an extensive compliance library.

September 24, 2021

[Webinar Recording] UST Live: The Future of the Nonprofit Workforce

Nonprofit employers nationwide are living through a fundamental transformation in the way they work and the pace at which employee priorities are changing. In the latest rendition of UST Live, we were joined by leaders from across the U.S with expertise in nonprofit management to discuss innovative strategies for creating a forward-looking workplace culture that is flexible, inclusive, and resilient.

Watch now to discover:

  • Top challenges nonprofit organizations are currently faced with
  • Strategies for creating (and maintaining) a productive hybrid workforce
  • Creative employee engagement tactics to keep employees engaged

Upcoming UST Live Webinars: UST Live was designed to equip nonprofit leaders with strategies that can help sustain their workforce and their mission-driven initiatives. In our final session of the year—scheduled for early December—we’ll discuss nonprofit leadership and succession planning.  

September 14, 2021

2021 Nonprofit Sector Report: Pandemic Impact on Workforce

Are you curious to discover how nonprofits have pivoted strategies in response to COVID-19 and how this pandemic is causing permanent change across the sector? With over 400 survey respondents—representing a wide variety of nonprofits from across the U.S.—this report unveils the pandemic’s impact on workforce evolution and illustrates how the sector withstood the hardships caused by the crisis.

Download the report to learn:

  • How COVID-19 impacted nonprofit staffing levels, ability to meet demand and employee benefits
  • Employer mandated vaccination trends
  • The most challenging workforce issues nonprofit employers are currently facing
  • Key strategies that nonprofit leaders plan to prioritize after the pandemic subsides

This report will provide valuable insight on how nonprofit organizations are navigating the ongoing challenges that have arisen throughout the pandemic. For only $99, download your copy of the 2021 sector report today!

September 10, 2021

HR Question: Remote Employees and Childcare

Question: Can we require remote employees to have childcare?

Answer: We do not recommend having a policy that stipulates childcare is necessary. For one thing, in practice, it often isn’t necessary. Lots of employees are able to do their jobs just fine while supervising children in the home. Imposing this requirement (and a huge financial burden) won’t solve any problems, but it may encourage remote employees to start looking for a new job. Even in cases where supervising children does negatively affect job performance, requiring childcare as a solution could be seen as crossing a line into your employees’ personal lives.

Instead of requiring childcare, we recommend setting clear expectations for attendance, availability, performance, and productivity. You can then discipline employees who don’t meet these expectations without giving the impression that you’re micromanaging their personal lives.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that employee expectations around remote work have changed. People choose remote work with the idea that they’ll have more flexibility during the day to attend to their personal responsibilities. If that flexibility isn’t an option, it’s important to make that clear so employees know what to expect.

Q&A provided by Mineral, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial here. As a UST member, simply log into your Mineral portal to access live HR certified consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses, an extensive compliance library, and more.

August 31, 2021

The Importance of Nonprofit Risk Management

Risk management is defined as a discipline for dealing with the possibility that some future event will cause harm and nonprofit risk comes in an endless number of forms—data security, fundraising fraud, regulatory compliance, employee relations, volunteer staff, and theft just to name a few. Given the myriad of ways that nonprofits are changing the world and the impossible task of being able to predict every potential mission-disrupting event, every organization stands to benefit from risk reducing tactics. This is where risk management comes in—an essential necessity that helps nonprofits understand the threats they face and how to prioritize strategies that create sustainability in the future.

Developing a risk management process is essential to every nonprofit but many remain unprotected simply because they don’t have the funds or resources to implement such a strategy. There are however other ways to protect your organization without breaking the bank that just require more time and dedication to create and streamline. So, if you don’t have a risk management strategy in place already, now is the time to start.

Follow these four steps to create a risk management strategy:

  • Perform a risk assessment across all functions of the organization and look at all of the data your nonprofit collects—from donors, employees, volunteers, and investors. The Nonprofit Technology Network offers a helpful assessment tool template to accomplish this beginning stage in an easy and organized manner.
  • Gather pertinent organizational documentation—operational plans, mission, and value statements to understand context.
  • Develop a timeline and set goals to ensure a phased and deliberate process with metrics to measure success. An effective risk management strategy doesn’t happen overnight but requires thoughtful attention and consideration.
  • Implement a risk cycle that regularly evaluates what risks came to life and how they were addressed to understand what works, what needs improvement, and what else can be done. This ultimately enables an organization to adjust quickly and strengthen their risk management strategies.

A single liability incident can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention the harm it can do to your reputation. In short, by taking the time to identify risks, prioritize issues, respond to the problems, assess the situation, and improve your strategy, nonprofit employers can better protect their assets and avoid future risks.

August 24, 2021

Nonprofit eBook: 3 Essential Practices to Cultivate a Positive Employee Experience

One of the biggest challenges nonprofits are faced with is the "great resignation" sparked by the pandemic—where employees are burnt out and pursuing new jobs that better align with their evolving priorities. In order to stay competitive in today's job market, nonprofit leaders must reinvent their recruitment tactics, work-life balance initiatives and employee engagement strategies.

Don't miss your chance to download a free copy of UST's latest eBook, Workforce Management Tactics that Strengthen Nonprofit Brands, to discover 3 key strategies that can help your nonprofit create (and sustain) a resilient workforce.

In this eBook, you'll discover:

  • The importance of refreshing your hiring & onboarding strategies
  • Tips for building creative and competitive employee benefit packages
  • Innovative processes that help combat preventable terminations

This eBook will help you uncover new strategies that will encourage your current (and future) workforce to carry out your mission for years to come.

August 13, 2021

HR Question: OSHA Regulations and the Home Office

Question: Do OSHA's regulations and standards apply to the home office? Are there any other federal laws employers need to consider when employees work from home?

Answer: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have any regulations regarding telework in home offices. The agency issued a directive in February 2000 stating that the agency will not conduct inspections of employees’ home offices, will not hold employers liable for employees’ home offices, and does not expect employers to inspect the home offices of their employees.

If OSHA receives a complaint about a home office, the complainant will be advised of OSHA’s policy. If an employee makes a specific request, OSHA may informally let employers know of complaints about home office conditions but will not follow-up with the employer or employee.

Employers who are required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses will continue to be responsible for keeping such records for injuries and illnesses occurring in a home office.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its implementing regulations do not prevent employers from implementing telework or other flexible work arrangements allowing employees to work from home. Employers would still be required to maintain an accurate record of hours worked for all employees, including those participating in telework or other flexible work arrangements; and to pay no less than the minimum wage for all hours worked and to pay at least one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek to nonexempt employees.

Employers are encouraged to work with their employees to establish hours of work for employees who telework and a mechanism for recording each teleworking employee’s hours of work. Nonexempt employees must receive the required minimum wage and overtime pay free and clear. This means that when a covered employee is required to provide the tools and equipment (e.g., computer, Internet connection, facsimile machine, etc.) needed for telework, the cost of providing the tools and equipment may not reduce the employee’s pay below that required by the FLSA.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), telework could be a reasonable accommodation the employer would need to provide to a qualified individual with a disability, barring any undue hardship. However, an employer may instead offer alternative accommodations as long as they would be effective.

Q&A provided by Mineral, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial here.

August 06, 2021

Best Practices for Employee Offboarding

Turnover is a natural part of any nonprofit organization’s life cycle, and employee offboarding should be handled with the same degree of importance as onboarding a new employee. An offboarding plan offers an opportunity for communication and manage change, to help preserve and improve your employer brand and to generate good faith with the departing employee. There can be many moving pieces involved with a termed employee and clear offboarding procedures help manage the expectations of all parties involved.

When done correctly, the employee offboarding process can offer key management insights and reveal hidden internal issues. From a management point of view, the focus is to address issues at an organization level. Whereas, employees are faced with small issues that aren’t always noticed by managers or the executive team. Not giving attention and time to these small and recurring issues can lead to larger issues which could then impact the productivity of the organization.

Here are some best practices when creating an efficient and smooth employee offboarding process:

1) Learn why the employee is leaving: Maybe the employee wasn’t a long-term fit for your company culture, perhaps they came across a career-changing opportunity, or they weren’t a fit to handle growth gracefully. Regardless of the reason, organizations need to first understand the reason why an employee wants to leave and have a clear plan in place to handle each type of exit. Having the appropriate policies and procedures in place to handle any and all offboarding reasons are key for orchestrating a smooth departure.

2) Conduct a smooth offboarding: A crucial aspect of a good employee offboarding process is to treat employees warmly, regardless of the reason behind their departure. Creating a positive farewell will encourage employees to speak to others positively about their experience which in turn, increases the organization’s brand value. Taking the opportunity to engage departed employees will help with talent acquisition and managing the reputation of the organization’s brand.

3) Ask for feedback: When an employee leaves, it can be a valuable opportunity to collect insightful turnover data. During the exit interview, the employee can offer honest feedback about the organization since they are no longer reliant on this job for financial means. When an employee expresses their desire to leave, sending them an exit interview survey can help organizations uncover areas of opportunities that need to be addressed to improve employee engagement and productivity.  

4) Avoid decreases in productivity: When an employee departs, day-to-day activities overseen by this employee will be interrupted or possibly put on pause—resulting in a decrease in productivity. Cross training with current employees can prevent a dip in productivity, such as, transferring process knowledge, document procedures and responsibilities, and login credentials for business tools.

Depending on the reason for the employee’s departure, exit interviews are an opportunity to collect important insights to improve your current offboarding strategy. The complexities involved in offboarding make saying “goodbye” to employees a challenging task—which is why consistency is the key to a successful exit interview. With the right tools in place, organizations have the ability to standardize the complexities involved in employee offboarding and help you part ways in the most efficient way.

July 30, 2021

HR Question: Asking Sick Employees About Their Symptoms

Question: As we begin to return to work, if an employee is out of the office due to sickness, can we ask them about their symptoms?

Answer:Yes, but there's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. In non-pandemic circumstances, employers shouldn't ask about an employee's symptoms, as that could be construed as a disability-related inquiry. Under the circumstances, however — and in line with an employer's responsibility to provide a safe workplace — it is recommended that employers ask specifically about the symptoms of COVID-19.

Here is a suggested communication: “Thank you for staying home while sick. In the interest of keeping all employees as safe as possible, we’d like to know if you are having any of the symptoms of COVID-19. Are you experiencing a fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or a new loss of taste or smell?”

Remember that medical information must be kept confidential as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If the employee does reveal that they have symptoms of COVID-19, or has a confirmed case, the CDC recommends informing the employee’s co-workers of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace (but not naming the employee who has or might have it) and directing them to self-monitor for symptoms. Employers should also follow CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial here.

July 23, 2021

UST Recruitment and Retention Toolkit

Recruiting and retaining top performers is crucial to the success of any nonprofit and when done right, reaps the best reward—employees that support and strengthen your mission-driven work. To help nonprofit employers strengthen their recruiting and retention practices—while focusing on the employee's entire journey with the organization—we created the 2021 Recruitment and Retention Toolkit .

This free toolkit includes a recruiting checklist, workplace flexibility fundamentals, interview best practice tips, and more:

  1. Recruitment Checklist
  2. Recruitment Sources
  3. Creating and Managing Job Descriptions
  4. Interviewing 101
  5. Pre-Employment Inquiry Do's and Don'ts
  6. Essential Employee Training Topics
  7. Creative Workplace Benefits
  8. Workplace Flexibility Fundamentals
  9. Webinar Recording: Enhance Your Nonprofit Brand
  10. Webinar Recording: Employee Development and Training

Would you like access to more HR-specific articles, templates and checklists? Sign up for a FREE 60-Day Trial of UST HR Workplace today! You'll also gain access to live, certified HR consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses, an extensive compliance library, and more.

July 16, 2021

UST Quarterly Nonprofit Digest: Nonprofit Sustainability Strategies

UST just released the latest edition of our Quarterly Nonprofit Digest. This quick reference guide highlights key findings from last quarter's most popular content—which focused on innovative nonprofit sustainability strategies to help employers thrive in these ever evolving times.

If you're a nonprofit leader, download your free copy of the Q2 quarterly digest to discover essential strategies for:

  • Identifying (and prioritizing) diversity and inclusion practices
  • Developing better defenses against subsequent crises
  • Creating sustainable fundraising best practices
  • Building a high performing workforce

You'll also gain access to helpful checklists, people risk management templates and best practice tips to help you plan (and execute) a successful virtual event.

To get more nonprofit-exclusive content, webinar invitations and sector insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for UST's eNewsletter today.

July 07, 2021

Nonprofit eBook “Preparing for Future Crises” Uncovers Strategies to Ensure Nonprofit Resiliency

UST recently published an eBook that discusses how the global pandemic challenged nonprofits in ways that were unprecedented at that time and how taking the time to develop better defenses against subsequent crises—building greater resilience against natural, economic and health threats—nonprofits can move toward a better prepared future.  

This insightful eBook uncovers strategies that can help nonprofits implement a game plan that will help ensure organizational sustainability in the wake of the next disaster. Available now for download, UST’s eBook will help you protect your employees, continuity of services and the communities you serve when future challenges arise.

In this eBook, you'll also discover:

  • Why it's important to mitigate future risks
  • How to shift from crisis management to proactive planning
  • Methods to develop your intended impact and theory of change

Don’t miss your opportunity to download your complimentary copy of “Preparing for Future Crises: Strategies to Ensure Nonprofit Resiliency” to discover how to protect your nonprofit and its workforce from future crises.

June 25, 2021

[Webinar Recording] UST Live: Strategies to Identify Board Diversity

In the latest rendition of UST Live, we were joined by guest moderator, Jenny Berg of the Leadership Council for Nonprofits, where we welcomed thought leaders from across the U.S. with expertise in DEI best practices. In this session, the panel discussed innovative strategies for identifying (and prioritizing) board diversity and inclusion practices—that in turn can help advance your mission in such a way that is both equitable and more appealing to donors, potential job candidates and the communities you serve.

Watch now to discover:

  • Common hurdles nonprofits face with increasing diversity on the board
  • Ideas on how to identify and approach new board member candidates
  • Tips for helping nonprofit boards embrace the need to change
  • Strategies for onboarding new board members

 

Upcoming UST Live Webinars: This webinar series was designed to equip nonprofits with the strategies and resources they need to survive (and thrive) in a constantly evolving environment. Be on the lookout for our next UST Live sessions—scheduled for June, September, and December—where we'll discuss strategies surrounding nonprofit sustainability, HR and compliance and leadership development. 

June 18, 2021

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Nonprofit Organizations

While the nonprofit sector is dedicated to serving those in need, without encompassing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into their governance and operations, they risk becoming irrelevant. It has been proven that organizations with more diverse workforces perform better financially. Before strategizing a DEI plan, nonprofits must first understand where their organization is and where it wants to go. You can then track your nonprofit’s proficiency in diversity using both quantitative and qualitative metrics, diagnose risks and find opportunities for improvement. Nonprofits will also need to examine internal biases and adopt practices that promote DEI in their work and employment practices as well as on their boards, and in their communications.

Achieving diversity and inclusiveness in your workplace is a process of creating change through education, collaboration, and vigilance. When we apply equity and inclusion to all aspects of organizational structure, we take action towards ensuring that historically excluded groups are recognized, included, and heard. A diverse workplace encourages people to be more vocal, creative, and involved. Commitment to DEI can be demonstrated through governance policies, leadership, and recruitment.

Often when organizations begin diversity work, it can feel daunting trying to figure out where to start. While the process will be different for every organization, below are some things to consider when starting diversity work in your nonprofit.

  • Diversify Your Board – the majority of nonprofit organizations still lack diversity on their boards. In order to reflect the diversity of the communities you serve, it’s more crucial than ever to change the composition of your board. Working from the top down will also build commitment and trust from within the workplace.
  • Form DEI Committees – everyone needs a champion to support their dreams and efforts—this is no different in the workplace. A dedicated DEI committee can help the organization accomplish its diversity goals by planning and overseeing the strategy and will ultimately be better positioned to have big picture discussions about the organization’s DEI priorities.
  • Perform DEI Audits — a diversity audit helps organizations understand the demographics and culture of their workforce by generating evidence and data which allows them to identify the specific factors that will help create a more diverse and inclusive environment.
  • Update Your Policies – all aspects of your diversity initiatives should be incorporated in all activities and policies of the organization to ensure efforts remain ongoing—there is no end to a process that helps create diversity and supports inclusion.
  • Educate Your Workforce – for organizations to thrive in this time of social responsibility you need to be intentional about creating a race literate workforce. You can start by including race and ethnicity training in your diversity and inclusion initiatives—educated individuals are more invested.
  • Build a Race Equity Culture – starting with a clear and shared understanding of what a Race Equity Culture looks like for your nonprofit will enable you to create and sustain a culture that is focused on proactively counteracting race inequities.
  • Create Open Dialogue – allow your workforce to participate in the conversation. Host a formal event to share the organizations diversity initiatives. Having an external facilitator can help ensure discussions are both objective and effective.
  • Pursue Diverse Candidates – recruiting a diverse staff is essential to nonprofit sustainability. It also gives an organization a competitive advantage while also creating more engagement and greater productivity.
  • Utilize Diverse Suppliers – in an effort to strengthen your diversity initiatives and combat social injustice, nonprofits should utilize diversified suppliers and community partners. Both can be a cornerstone to success, helping to ethically and efficiently source products and services  

When we consider our own diversity, check our assumptions, ask questions, and apply our insights to our work, we can create change. Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion as organizational values is a great way to intentionally make space for positive outcomes and will ultimately help nonprofits better serve their communities and attract a more diverse staff.

June 14, 2021

Four Best Practices to Improve Donor Engagement

With the rise of smartphones, social media and other digital channels, nonprofits now have more tools available to them for engaging donors than ever before. The issue that comes with having so many ways to donate, is that it can be difficult to pinpoint which engagement techniques are most effective for engaging donors. Most nonprofits know that the main form of donor engagement is making a donation, however, there are quite a few ways to engage with those individuals any time they support or directly interact with the organization. Any opportunity to interact with a donor is a chance to strengthen your relationship with them, which could naturally result in more donations.

To show appreciation for your donors, it’s crucial to develop nonprofit donor engagement strategies that strengthen the relationship between you and your supporters. If you’re looking for best practices to boost your donor engagement, here are four key techniques that can help your nonprofit raise more money and improve your donor retention rate:

1) Create Personal and Genuine Messaging: Engaging your donors requires a personal and authentic approach. Take the time to learn about your donor’s interests as individuals and be transparent when you have interactions with them. Establishing trust with your donors will often result in their willingness to support your mission and reaching your donors on a more personal level, can allow for more opportunities to create personalized engagement strategies down the line.

2) Utilize the Benefits of Software: It’s a challenging task to keep up with hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of donors. Successful communication with your donors requires individualized approaches and the information necessary to make it possible to make those individualized approaches come to life. This is where having a donor database can be a great resource—a nonprofit CRM—a tool built to help nonprofits track all aspects of their donor relationships. 

3) Offer and Implement a Membership Program: A membership involves the donor giving fees or dues to a nonprofit in exchange for member status and the rights, perks or benefits that are included in the membership. The frequency and type of engagement opportunities you offer members will depend on your organization, but the possibilities can be endless. For example: host member only events, special volunteer opportunities or a member ONLY newsletter.

4) Create a Text Communication Option: Seeing as texting is such a prevalent communication method, organizations need to take advantage of this huge engagement opportunity. There are many services that enable nonprofits to establish a text marketing list, allowing your organization the ability to send a mass text message to all donors who subscribed to this list.

Looking for opportunities to engage with your donors authentically and honestly will go a long way in ensuring donors donate time and time again. Take the time to deeply understand why the donor supports you and deliver on their expectations. Start seeing a donation as a part of a relationship, not a one-off business transaction. This way you begin to deepen relationships with people that support what you do, rather than just treating them as just donors. Show gratitude to your donors, invite them to engage in other ways than donating, share with them why they matter, and get to know them on a more personal level.

June 04, 2021

UST Workforce Re-Entry Toolkit

  

As states begin to loosen their social distancing restrictions, nonprofit employers are beginning to strategize a return-to-work plan while staying compliant with state, local and federal guidelines. To equip nonprofit leaders with the resources they need to safely re-enter the workplace, we compiled the Workforce Re-Entry Toolkit

While the decision to reopen will vary from employer to employer, having a thoughtful strategy in place will help minimize employee concern and solidify any new policies well in advance of re-entry. This free toolkit includes essential checklists, letter templates, sample policies and response plans:

  • Return to Work Employer Checklist
  • COVID-19 Employer FAQs
  • Checklist: Preparing the Workspace for Re-Entry
  • Survey: Employee Readiness to Return to Work
  • Employer Guide: Deciding Who Returns
  • COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policies
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Poster
  • Sample Welcome Back Letter
  • Quick Response Plan for Infected Employees
  • Sample Communication Regarding Infection in the Workplace
  • Webinar Recording: Preparing to Re-Entry to the Workplace

Would you like access to more HR-specific articles, templates and checklists? Sign up for a free 60-day Trial of UST HR Workplace today! You'll also gain access to live, certified HR consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses, and extensive compliance library and more.

May 27, 2021

2021 Virtual Event Best Practice Tips

 

Nonprofits across the country were forced to pause, pivot and make remarkable changes to their in-person events last year due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19. As organizations continue thinking about their in-person vs. virtual strategies, the hybrid future of events is taking form—changing the events landscape for years to come.

Virtual events offer the best combination of brand exposure and the digital engagement people crave. Whether your event is large or small, one day or one week, we've compiled some of the top Virtual Event Best Practice Tips to help you navigate the many considerations involved in planning (and executing) a successful virtual event. 

Want access to more nonprofit-specific tips, toolkits and webinars? Sign up for our nonprofit eNewsletter today!

May 21, 2021

People Risk Management Toolkit

People-related risks within an organization can range from bad hires and misconduct to harassment and lack of diversity in the workplace. To help nonprofit employers strengthen their employee risk management practices—and mitigate the risks that can ultimately affect your bottom line—we created the 2021 People Risk Management Toolkit.

This free toolkit includes a performance improvement plan, a risk audit questionnaire, risk management best practice tips and more:

  1. Essential People Risk Management Practices
  2. People Risk Management Audit Questionnaire
  3. The People Risk Management Scorecard
  4. The Cost of People Related Risks Tool
  5. EEO Self-Identification Form
  6. Anti-Harassment Policy Checklist
  7. Whitepaper: Emergency Preparedness Plan
  8. The Importance of New Hire Assessments
  9. Performance Improvement Plan
  10. Webinar Recording: Supporting Nonprofit Sustainability During a Crisis

Want access to more HR-specific articles, templates and checklists? Sign up for a FREE 60-Day Trial of UST HR Workplace today! You'll also gain access to live HR certified consultants, 300+ on-demand training courses and an extensive compliance library.

May 17, 2021

Preparing Your Nonprofit Workforce for the Future of Work

When looking at the current work environment, we can see that it requires flexibility, being open to new skills and navigating new ways of working. And depending on where your nonprofit organization is in the digital transformation, there may be a lot to do in preparing your employees for the future of work. More and more organizations have been forced to transition from the manual, hands-on legacy systems to using the cloud—moving employees toward a data-driven culture, embracing machine learning and a number of other technologies.

Here are five tips to help guide your nonprofit organization towards a greater digital transformation in an ever-evolving work and business environment:

1) Recruit for the future: At least a portion of your current workforce will have moved on to other employment in the next 5 to 10 years, so think about succession planning now. Knowing the realities of modern business—it pays to think about how you’ll fill certain positions moving forward—you’ll likely want to focus on recruiting employees who have the skill sets that you need for future roles.

2) Offer upskill, re-skilling and transfer skill opportunities: When employees demonstrate strong aptitude and interest in certain technology, it would be smart to encourage and develop that skill set. Along with offering training for all employees, it’s important to consider the employees that have been loyal to your company may need some re-skilling. Also, don’t forget that employees who will be retiring can offer valuable skills to pass on the next generation. While we live in a world where technology is increasingly required for every aspect of work, soft skills like communication, time management and professionalism will always be needed in the workforce.

3) Become more flexible: Technology isn’t just there to draw you closer to your customer, although that’s a big part of why we’ve embraced it. Being open to other ways that technology can allow for a more flexible work environment, including a new concept of the “workplace” itself, can be very beneficial for your workforce. Let your employees know that these benefits are coming due to the latest technology your organization is adopting.

4) Set guidelines: As we develop larger online footprints, creating content and being active on social channels, it’s important to consider and define where your company stands on personal expression and social media. The line between your employee’s online activity and physical world is continuing to blur. A comment left on Twitter could easily get back to your employer and it may not be received well or taken lightly, based on the context. Take time to think about how you encourage personal expression in the digital world and how it could potentially impact your organization’s brand.

5) Prepare a path for employees to follow: Guide your employees, be a leader. Employees may already have reservations or concerns about how new technology could impact their place in the organization. Your employees need your empathy and support—talk to them about changes to come and listen to their concerns. 

While it’s impossible to know every aspect of what the future of work will look like at your organization, the above tips can be helpful in offering guidance on how to prepare your employees for staying skilled and to maintain a productive work environment. Business leaders can take the time to plan for the future in which training and learning will be the focus however, no one knows exactly what the future of the workforce will hold.

May 06, 2021

HR Question: Handling Racially Insensitive Comments

Question: An employee has reported that another employee made a racially insensitive comment in the break room in front of several people. What course of action should we take?

Answer:It is your duty as an employer to immediately stop any behavior that could constitute unlawful harassment, bullying, or workplace violence. Begin by investigating the incident and collect statements where applicable. Acting in good faith, and documenting these efforts, may provide the company with protection against complaints from involved employees. Document all conversations that are part of the investigation. If an investigation finds that comments were made that are against company policy, you should discipline that employee in a manner consistent with how you have disciplined other employees for infractions of a similar severity. Often, a written warning is appropriate in a circumstance such as this.

Q&A provided by ThinkHR, powering the UST HR Workplace for nonprofit HR teams. Have HR questions? Sign your nonprofit up for a free 60-day trial here.

April 29, 2021

UST Quarterly Nonprofit Digest: Employee Engagement Strategies

Welcome to the inaugural issue of UST's Quarterly Nonprofit Digest, a bite-sized overview of the employer strategies, sector statistics, and resources that UST shared throughout the most recent months.

This quick 4-step reference guide—highlighting key findings from Q1—will provide you with the innovative employee engagement strategies you (and your staff) need to succeed. In this rendition of the quarterly digest, discover strategies for:

  • Streamlining your onboarding processes
  • Creatively engaging your dedicated staff
  • Crafting a positive, vibrant company culture

You'll also gain access to helpful checklists, survey templates and best practice tips for developing both new and existing employees.

Sign up for UST's eNewsletter to get nonprofit-exclusive content, webinar invitations, and sector insights delivered straight to your inbox.

April 23, 2021

Online Fundraising Best Practices for the New Year (and Beyond)

   

According to the 2021 Benchmarks Report, the average nonprofit donor contributed an average of $167 in 2020—this per-donor metric was slightly lower than 2019. The increase that did occur was largely driven by more people giving rather than people giving more. While the global pandemic forced nonprofits to take their in-person events such as, conferences and fundraisers online overnight and propelled most into digital transformation at a pace we thought would take years, not all was lost—there were many positive outcomes.

A year later, it’s safe to say that virtual events and online giving are here to stay. Nonprofit professionals have embraced online fundraising since 1999 when the first “Donate Now” button was released by a project of the Tides Foundation—shaping best practices with 20+ year of innovation and experimentation. It’s more important than ever to understand your donors; what they care about, why they give, their communication preferences, and which social media channels they prefer. Equally important is that you use sustainable fundraising practices that drive predictable fundraising growth.

Below are some key strategies and best practice tips to help your nonprofit build its digital fundraising with low effort and high return.

  1. Don’t be afraid to invest. This might sound counterintuitive to your long-term fundraising strategy but spending a little more on the tools available to you will result in big payoffs later. Consider updating your website to ensure mobile optimization is SEO friendly or invest in integrating your CRM with your donation page—one that has custom branding, donation tiers, and recurring gift options to help increase your ROI.
  2. Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Organic searches are often one of the largest traffic sources to your site. Add quality SEO content to your website with relevant topics to the sector and incorporate these SEO strategies into your blogs, annual reports and videos.
  3. Don’t miss out on the opportunity social media provides. Encouraging people to share your content increases your ranking with Google’s own SEO algorithms and can yield huge returns. Moving your organization to a top search placement means more organic traffic—and donations. Better yet, it costs you nothing and only requires your time and commitment to keeping your website updated.
  4. Nurture, Nurture, Nurture. Once someone has engaged with your content, retargeting is a form of engaging with potential donors and bridging the gap between capturing their attention and getting them to click that “donate” button time and time again.
  5. Communication is vital to the success of your fundraising strategy. Utilize automated email campaigns that keep your audience engaged and coming back for more. You can create different campaigns for when someone signs up for your newsletter or makes their first donation—the possibilities are endless.
  6. Make giving a great experience for your donors. You want the process to be easy and convenient. Donation pages should be simple, optimized for mobile giving, and ask for the minimal amount of information necessary. No greater experience exists than a monthly giving option that provides the ease of filling out a form once and forgetting about it.   
  7. Create a tribute giving program. Organizations and individuals alike often look for ways to make donations in honor or on behalf of someone else—a popular way of giving during the holidays. According to the Global Trends in Giving Report, 33% of donors worldwide give tribute gifts.
  8. Don’t forget the power of email fundraising. Despite the popular myth that email is dying, the truth is that email use is growing. When the pandemic hit and businesses started working from home, mail came to a quick halt as no one was in the office to receive it and email became the way to communicate. Donors need reminding—reminders to give and WHY! Even more impactful than the reminder to give is sharing the impact of their donation which is often what inspires them to give again.
  9. Prioritize crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising. Crowdfunding promotes a specific project while peer-to-peer fundraising is when individuals help raise money through their own fundraising pages and invite their friends and family to donate funds to support a specific cause. This type of fundraising is most popular with endurance events (marathons, etc.) and political or emotional campaigns (Black Lives Matter, etc.).
  10. Create an engaging thank you page. The best time to capture the attention of donors is while they’re waiting for a confirmation that their payment has been received. Create a “Thank You for Your Donation” landing page where you share how their donation helps your mission—perhaps with an impact video, invite them to follow you on social media, and offer ways for them to get more involved with your organization.  

The most important thing you can learn about online fundraising is that it should be sustainable and predictable. Outside of COVID-19, online fundraising has been driven by the release of new technology and social networking websites over the years, so ask yourself if you have the right tools in place to create a fundraising strategy that is both successful and sustainable.

April 16, 2021

A Workforce Strategy Designed to Help Push Your Nonprofit Forward

In today’s talent-based economy, an organization’s workforce is one of its most important tangible assets. Despite its importance, this asset is often not carefully planned, measured, or optimized. This can mean that many organizations are not sufficiently aware of the current or future workforce gaps that will limit execution of the current business strategy. Yet at the same time, boards of directors, CEOs and chief human resource officers will frequently declare that workforce planning and data-driven decision making is a top priority for their organizations.

While there can be a disconnect in understanding why there is a gap between intent and execution, the most obvious cause is a lack of defining consistent objectives regarding the outputs of workforce planning, and a lack of consistent processes by which organizations conduct workforce planning and future modeling. Organizations need to design an approach that moves workforce planning from only being considered by a small group of those who think about the future of their workforce, to everyone looking at it’s overall operational effectiveness—this is where management is accustomed to spending its time and energy.

When creating a workforce strategy, there are five key workforce areas that are critical to driving successful business outcomes:

1) Defining Business Operations and Direction: The most critical step in strategic workforce planning is alignment—alignment of business strategy, organizational structure, people, and results. Ensure clarity around strategic objectives, then make sure you have a holistic organizational design and talent plan to drive getting the right people with the right skill set into the right role, thus delivering results.

2) Staffing & Talent Goals: Strategic workforce planning is a key component when looking at the overall talent strategy. It begins with understanding where the organization is headed; what are the future organizational capabilities? This helps the organization identify new skills and competencies needed to create learning and developing opportunities. This is turn, helps define the talent acquisition strategy.

3) Training & Innovation: Offering training opportunities is an ideal way to retain your current staff and to bring on new talent. Investing in developing your employee’s skill set, knowledge and experience will go a long way in nurturing an employee’s journey while encouraging innovation within your workforce.

4) Employee Feedback: Taking the time to listen to your employees is key when creating a successful workforce strategy. Not only can showing your workforce that you are really listening to them improve employee engagement levels, but it also can boost workplace morale, job satisfaction rates and overall retention. Taking the employee feedback and applying it to the development of your workforce strategy will result in a more cohesive and successful strategy.

5) Workplace Environment: Factoring in the importance of your organization’s work environment from an overall workforce strategy perspective can enable an uptick in performance by increasing innovation, employee experience and most importantly, productivity.

Workforce planning requires in-depth insight into what a company needs in terms of talent and skills. And breaking it down into these five key areas will allow your organization to develop and sustain high quality workforce planning programs and be rid of the traditional barriers that can restrain effective workforce planning.