Report: Nonprofit Employees Happy, But There’s Always Room for Improvement

A new report from the fundraising platform Classy finds that nonprofit employee satisfaction rates top 80 percent, but closer alignment between employees and leadership could make things even better.

Just because nonprofit employees feel pretty good about their current roles and positions doesn’t mean that things couldn’t be just a little bit better.

So says a new report from the nonprofit fundraising firm Classy, which reveals that 84 percent of respondents are at least somewhat satisfied with their current roles in their organizations, a number that jumps to 92 percent when focused on fundraising-only roles. Those well outpace employee-satisfaction levels seen in studies of the broader workforce, such as The Conference Board’s Labor Day survey from last year, which reported only 51 percent satisfaction.

Classy’s “World-Changing Work: The Modern Nonprofit Professional’s Experience” [registration], timed around its 2019 Collaborative conference in Boston this week, notes that one major driving factor behind the satisfaction is the mission—so much so that many for-profit companies are starting to embrace the mission-driven ethos too.

“In comparison to for-profits, nonprofit employees have been ahead of the curve in one key area: the desire to work for mission-driven organizations,” the report says. “The for-profit world is catching up to what nonprofit practitioners have always known—that working at a socially conscious organization can increase an employee’s sense of fulfillment because they know their efforts are making a positive impact on the world.”

Satisfaction among nonprofit employees also correlates to their willingness to give back. Slightly more than half of employees happy with their roles donate on a regular basis, while 68 percent of employees who aren’t so happy don’t.

But there was some misalignment when it come to what nonprofit employees and organizations are concerned about. The report found that the biggest concern for employees was an increase in wages (50 percent), followed by donor retention (45 percent) and overhead costs (39 percent).

Organizationally, the order was flipped: Overhead costs (58 percent) were the biggest concern of nonprofits, with donor retention (49 percent) and wage increases (39 percent) coming right behind.

The report makes the case that stronger alignment between the goals of the nonprofit leadership and its employees could help improve the execution of the organization.

Other points discussed in the report include where nonprofits get inspiration (most often from other nonprofits), how they are embracing technology (not always as much as some employees would like), and the best marketing channels for engagement (social media is most successful, outpacing even word-of-mouth).

“There isn’t always an opportunity to get together and learn from each other in a meaningful way, which is why we created a report that brings to life the inspiring and purposeful conversations that happen when you get social sector leaders together in the same room,” Classy cofounder and CEO Scot Chisholm said in an emailed news release.

(ma_rish/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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