Employee engagement is top retention tool at nonprofits

June 20, 2014

Employee engagement is top retention tool at nonprofits

Creating deep passion and maintaining high employee engagement at a nonprofit can be one of the most important aspects of retaining top talent. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy while employees at any company need a competitive salary, workers who decide to join a nonprofit often want more than just a paycheck, and may leave if that doesn't occur. This is particularly true of millennial talent. Regardless of their disciplines or degrees, this generation seeks to find a greater purpose in their professional lives. In order for them to perform at their best, they must believe their job has a positive impact on society.

The conundrum is if young workers truly want to make a meaningful difference and aren't, they will leave the nonprofit for other employment. When the motivation is money, it's easier to stay in a job even if the work is boring, unrewarding or unfulfilling – provided promotions or raises are available. However, when employees want to make a positive influence on a cause and are not given the opportunity to do so they may be easily frustrated and move on.

Engagement begins with listening
That is why careful delegation of duties is so important at a nonprofit. Managers must make sure the right talents are put to work in the right place. However, the shared passion of employees means everyone should be given a voice. At a for-profit company, an employee's passion is more likely related to their position than to the organization itself. At a nonprofit, involvement with the organization can be the primary motivator behind seeking out the job. Any employee, regardless of position, might have wonderful ideas for how the organization can expand and grow, and it is up to the manager to tap into these insights.

While operations can be a hectic at a nonprofit, leaders should take the time to meet with all employees and ask about their vision of the organization. It's important to know where they see themselves in five years, but also where they see the nonprofit in five years. Even if their ideas are not put into practice, employee engagement begins by simply giving them the chance to participate. Nonprofits are most successful when their employees believe in the mission, so leaders must make sure that all workers feel they have an engaging and meaningful impact on the organization.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.


Ready to chat?
Get in touch today to request a no-obligation savings evaluation.


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.

Ensight Skills Center, Inc, Fort Collins, CO