Staffing Challenges Give Birth to Progressive Management


The John’s Hopkins University project the Nonprofit Listening Post, held a Roundtable on the recruitment and retention of professional and support workers at nonprofit organizations. This Sounding demonstrated that overwhelming majorities of nonprofit human service, arts, and community development organizations are facing real challenges recruiting and retaining quality workers; but it also found that most organizations were able to overcome these challenges with adaptive styles of management-employee relations and progressive workstyles.

Five overarching lessons emerged from this conversation:

1) The importance of selling “the context” of nonprofi t jobs;

2) The realization that new, costly methods do not always have better results;

3) The importance of thinking creatively about bringing people into the sector;

4) The need to re-defi ne work and the working environment;

5) The importance of professionalizing the human resource function.

More on this conversation can be found here.

Five overarching lessons emerged from this conversation:
1) The importance of selling “the context” of nonprofi t jobs;
2) The realization that new, costly methods do not always have better results;
3) The importance of thinking creatively about bringing people into the sector;
4) The need to re-defi ne work and the working environment;
5) The importance of professionalizing the human resource function..

Funding Systems Hamper Nonprofit Influence on Policy


The advocacy power of Nonprofits is hampered by the way nonprofits are funded.

The John’s Hopkins University project the Nonprofit Listening Post, hosted a Roundtable on Nonprofit Advocacy and found that America’s nonprofit organizations are widely involved in efforts to influence the public policies affecting them and those they serve, but are constrained by a lack of adequate resources, including tight budgets and limited staff time.

The way funding is garnered and by whom, hampers the organization’s ability to be an independent voice for social policy and progress.  Chief Executive Officer Peter Goldberg (Alliance for Children and Families and United Neighborhood Centers of America) pointed out that in the human service field, nonprofit boards have grown more conservative over the past twenty years. “This creates a tension in our organizations that is sometimes easier to avoid by staying away from policy and advocacy.”

Other participants noted that in light of funding challenges, they feel pressured to stack their boards with wealthy community members who possess strong fundraising skills. Hoping to maximize their chances of attracting such people, they focus their advocacy solely on the organization’s programs and funding shying away from issues that affect their stakeholders, but which will ignite controversy.

Find more on the challenges facing civil society advocacy in the complete report here.

Our question is: What opportunities are emergent in these challenges?

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