Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this GrantCraft post, Pierce Family Foundation Executive Director Marianne Philbin describes ways philanthropists can support nonprofit staff, including unrestricted operational support and subscriptions to pro bono legal services.
• Are funders willing to let go of the overhead myth and act on some of the suggestions detailed here? What other needs do grantees have when it comes to staffing?
Nonprofits tend to sink or swim based not on mission and funding alone, but on the talents of employees. Keeping good employees and equipping them for the work is one of the critical challenges frequently cited by nonprofit leaders. Investing in the “people” aspects of nonprofit organizations can help increase their impact philanthropy.
There are many reasons for this, from fear of getting into personnel issues, to foundation guidelines that focus on funding programs rather than operations. Below, we share nine strategic and inexpensive ways we’ve invested in nonprofit staffing, and that we believe other funders interested in providing similar support can easily adapt for their own grantee communities:
- Provide unrestricted general operating support. Capacity begins with staffing; do not underestimate the importance of supporting basic staffing costs by providing unrestricted general operating support. The more stable the general operating base, the more supported an organization will be in terms of staff retention, compensation, and morale.
- Offer an outside advisor for HR projects. Outside advisors can provide an objective review of a grantee’s staff organizational chart, job descriptions, salary scale, compensation levels, and personnel policies.
- Share salary data from national and regional surveys. Being exposed to this data often helps an organization understand why they have high turnover and helps motivate adjustments to salary scales. We don’t stipulate what they need to do with the data — that’s not our role — but typically it feeds into the case for support then made to their boards at budget time, and the longer-term planning done to ensure dreams match capacity.
Interested in learning more about Impact Philanthropy? Other readers at Giving Compass found the following articles helpful for impact giving related to Impact Philanthropy.
Read the full article about strategic ways funders can increase impact philanthropy by Marianne Philbin at GrantCraft.
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