Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2015 Millennial Impact Report - Focus on Causes and the Workplace

We all know that the Millennial generation relates to everything in a different way than us older folks.  This is true for how they relate to nonprofits and their philanthropic spirit and approach.  Almost all of the nonprofit leadership, including fundraising professionals, fall into that “older folk” category.  So we have a lot to learn.  The Millennial Impact Report is the resource we should all be studying and taking to heart. 

Since 2009 they have been answering the question, “How does the Millennial generation connect with, get involved with and support causes?”  Each year the report has focused on a different aspect of Millennial giving.  I have written about this report each year –reporting the key findings and adding my commentary - especially ideas applicable to small nonprofits.  This article does the same for the 2015 report.

This year the report focuses on company cause work, the factors that influence engagement in the workplace and the relationship between Millennial employees and their managers.  This research is especially important to nonprofits that depend on volunteerism and need to adapt to its changing nature.

The key findings take-aways for designing employer based cause programs are:








Some of the key findings are true for us older folk too.  Asking makes a difference.  This fundamental rule of fundraising continues to be true with this generation.  46% said that they are more likely to give if a co-worker asks them to.   65% to 77% of all groups -  millennials and non-millennials – were most influenced to give by corporate matching gift plans.

84% of Millennials made a donation in 2014 but only 22% were solicited at work.  Wow – What a potential growth opportunity for nonprofits.

Here is a surprising but noteworthy influencer for employer based giving.  43% of Millennials said they would be more likely to give if competition was involved but only 24% of managers felt this way.  I recently saw that at a local school a class that had 100% participation in a volunteer activity earned a pizza lunch.  Designing fundraising campaigns with a competition – something to think about.  It is easy enough to do and in many cases can be done without a cost.  Will an employer designate a parking space for the employee volunteer of the month? Name recognition and days off are mentioned in the study.

Most Millennial employees volunteer only 1 to 10 hours a year but 79% of them say they felt they made a difference.  65% of them said they were more likely to participate if their co-workers did and 44% said they were more likely if their manager volunteered.  These statistics represents a major opportunity for growth – especially for small locally based nonprofits.  Designing one day projects that an employee volunteer group can work on or even better – complete – can be a new and effective way of getting things done.  Even better,  Millennials like to volunteer using their skills and again like older folk are turned off if they feel their time was wasted.  Group volunteer projects can lay the relationship building foundation for future donors.  Other studies have shown that volunteering first is a key to giving for the younger generations.

Small companies usually do not have company giving plans but they can still encourage a culture of giving through peer solicitation and informal employee initiatives from setting up and managing a collection box for food/school supplies to selling girl scout cookies (my examples).

I highly recommend that you read to whole report.  There are lots of graphics and it is easy to digest.  Bottom line findings –

  • Company programming can successfully develop a workplace culture of giving and volunteering.   

  • To be successful, companies need to make two investments: in employee cause work and manager participation.
  •  Passion is the key to influencing participation in company-sponsored cause work.
If you are a small nonprofit, there is lots of data here that can help you convince local businesses to work with you on giving and volunteering.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

6 Tips for a Winning Nonprofit Executive Job Description

When there is an executive position open in a small or mid size nonprofit, it usually falls to a Search Committee to identify the top candidates that will be considered by the board to be the next Executive Director.  One of the first steps is writing the job description that will be used to advertise the position.  This description has the same responsibilities but is different than the one in the ED's desk drawer.

Building the job description requires understanding the job content, and the skills, credentials and experiences that will be needed to do the job well.  You really need to think thoughtfully about what you are looking for in an Executive Director.  If you want to get outstanding candidates and candidates that are the right fit to apply, a good job description is the key.   This description also is a sales pitch.  Here are some important ingredients to a good job description.

The Sales Pitch -  The description should include a profile of the organization including its mission, services and key accomplishments.  If you have a culture you are proud of make sure it is mentioned in your profile. Examples are that you have an inclusive profile, or  teamwork and collaboration are integral to your success.

Specifics are important – A good executive job description provides an accurate scope of the job.  It should include the annual budget, number of employees and direct reports, number of locations, overview of your major programs and any other details which will give candidates an accurate picture of the scope of the position.
Straightforward Honesty Rules – Potential candidates appreciate job descriptions that aren’t just buzzword packed and seem like you are looking for someone who walks on water.  I recommend that the job description list major responsibilities that the Executive Director will be expected to be personally involved in and which responsibilities will be delegated.  For example, the ED will have responsibility for program and budget development but program delivery and budget administration will be delegated.  If there are any unusual requirements you should make sure you list them.  Does this job have 40% travel?  Are you required to work on Thanksgiving?  These kind of things should be noted.
Salary Range Is Important – I always recommend that a salary range such as Mid 70s be included in the job description.  This will help attract appropriate candidates for your position.  Yes, you will still get people who have a couple of years at an entry level position and at least one person who made twice that in their last position, but by and large, you will attract appropriate candidates.  There are resources such as the Guidestar Nonprofit Compensation Report which can help you set the right salary range for your opening.
Benefits Can Be the Make or Break Item – Listing insurance, vacation, number of paid holidays, flexible hours, retirement plan and other benefits will attract applicants.  It is a big mistake not to list your benefits.  People make decisions about even applying for a position if the benefits are important to them.
Realistically What Is Required and What Is Desirable  - Break down the skills, experience and credentials into required and desirable.  And stay out of the “walk on water weeds.”  Do you really have to have 10 years experience or is five years plenty?  Is a Master’s Degree required or desirable?  Are there critical skills and experience (fundraising, financial management?) and are some desirable (Experience with an artistic community?).
Developing the job description is the first and most important task that the Search Committee needs to do.  It is important to take the time to do it right.