Newsbytes

Tickets on sale for 2019 TalentEgg Awards & Conference at 25% off for nonprofits

April 10, 2019

Early-bird tickets are on sale NOW for the 2019 TalentEgg National Campus Recruitment Excellence Awards & Conference. Awards will be presented at a special day-long conference in downtown Toronto, combining insightful and topical speakers on recruitment with the Awards Ceremony. Attendance is open to all employers, charities, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and career educators. Purchase your tickets now to ensure that you’re on the list of attendees for the event on June 19, 2019 at the Globe and Mail Centre. Nonprofit organizations will receive a special 25% off. Use the code NFP2019 at checkout. Hope to see you there!

Why you should find the positive people at work

April 10, 2019

Why you should find the positive people at work - Think of two people you regularly interact with at work. Now take a moment to think about the kinds of emotions you typically experience when you are interacting with them. Using the three categories: positive, neutral (neither positive nor negative) and negative, pick which category best represents the kinds of emotions you experience when interacting with each of these two people.

How to handle a toxic employee

April 10, 2019

How to handle a toxic employee - Managers need to address toxic employees immediately or risk impacting their teams, their culture, and individual leaders’ reputations, according to Alex Hattingh chief people officer at Employment Hero. Hattingh told HRD that it’s important to take an individual aside as soon as you observe toxic behaviour, or you have been told by others about it.

Building the culture you want at your nonprofit

April 10, 2019

Your organizational culture is the sum total of your shared beliefs, values, and practices – in short, the unique environment of your organization, or what makes your organization stand out! Culture is a hot topic in people management and building a positive culture is top of mind for leaders everywhere. Non-profit organizations in particular are often known for emphasizing a people-first approach to management, and as a consequence, nonprofit leaders dream of establishing, nurturing, and enjoying a positive, productive, and strong organizational culture. After all, your culture is the foundation on which everything else rests – it can make or break your organization’s reputation and has an enormous influence over success.

But creating and sustaining the culture you want isn’t just about throwing around some buzzwords and organizing a few team-building activities. Before you dive into a culture revamp, there are a few important activities to keep in mind.

Check in with your core values

Culture is more than an empty buzzword – your culture needs to be embedded in everything you do, and in how you do it. Effective culture building is about articulating, communicating, and consistently building on the core values of what your organization stands for. Chances are, the mission, vision, and values of your organization are already defined, but before you embark on a culture-building crusade, it’s worth revisiting whether they still effectively answer the questions: What does your organization stand for? Who are you and what do you do? And most importantly, how do you want to do it?

Once you’ve defined your values and what the culture you want to achieve looks like, the next step is to develop language to communicate where you’re headed that reflects those values. Build excitement around culture changes and seek input from employees at all levels of the organization to get buy-in. Consistent messaging is key here – if you haven’t defined what you’re working towards, odds are you won’t get there.

Promote the behaviour you want to see

Creating the culture you want takes time, and consistently promoting a positive, well-defined company cultures doesn’t just happen – it requires the conscious effort of your whole team pulling together in the same direction. For that to happen, management needs to take the lead! Encouraging the actions you want to see is most effective when it starts at the top. This means your leaders need to be the strongest representations of your organization’s values and model the culture you aim to promote.

Where to start? Work with your strengths! Focus on the positive aspects of your culture that you want to promote, identify the specific actions and attitudes you want to see more of, and build on those aspects to enjoy cumulative effects. To keep momentum consistently high, it can be helpful to assign culture development to a “culture champion”. While culture promotion shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of one individual, designating accountability improves the chance you’ll stay on track.

Discourage stagnation

Cultural patterns can be hard to change, and entrenched company cultures aren’t always healthy. Though you may have a strong culture, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the one you want! Negative patterns and actions can cause stagnation, and bog organizations down in old, entrenched ways of operating while obstructing positive change. Remain open to getting rid of cultural “dead weight” by identifying and discouraging patterns, attitudes and behaviours that aren’t in line with the culture and values you’re working to promote.

Hire for fit

Recruitment activities and culture-building go hand-in-hand and hiring for culture fit is an important component of your overall culture-building strategy. Hiring for fit doesn’t mean everyone in your organization needs to fit a certain cookie-cutter ideal – especially for non-profit organizations where promoting diversity can be a huge strategic advantage. Hiring for fit means that you actively look for new hires who exhibit the behaviours and values that align with the culture you want to nurture, and whose attitude and prior performance are consistent with the behaviour you want to see more of on your team. Actively promote your employer brand and build your pipeline to attract candidates whose values are in sync with yours and communicate your culture throughout the recruitment process so that candidates who aren’t on board can self-select out.

The Takeaway? Building the kind of culture you want takes focus, clarity, and the buy-in of your entire team. While it sounds like a lot of work, the return on investment is high – so, if you haven’t done a culture check-in lately, now’s the perfect time!

Engaged HR transforms workplaces by providing essential human resource management services and expertise to non-profit organizations and small to medium-sized business. Whether you are building your start-up HR program, facing people-management challenges, or growing your business, Engaged HR will help you create a great place to work.

How to write a job ad to better diversify your candidate pool

April 10, 2019

The first thing most people think of when they think about CharityVillage is our job postings. That’s because we’ve been the go-to place for Canadians posting or looking for jobs in the charitable sector since 1995. And because we’ve been at this for a while, we’ve figured out some of the better strategies for creating job ads that attract the best candidates.

What you might not realize is that not all job ads are created equal. Or rather, that the same job ad won’t attract every candidate. One key distinction has to do with demographics: what might attract a seasoned nonprofit veteran may not be the best approach to attracting a younger demographic. We talked with some younger nonprofit professionals as well as our colleagues at Talent Egg, a career website and online job board that caters to Canadian students and recent graduates to find out exactly what kind of job ad attracts the best younger job seekers. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Keep it simple. “If your job ad is a short essay, you have a problem,” says Mary Barroll, president of Talent Egg. “This is a generation that makes decisions quickly: you have to grab them in the first few seconds or you’ve lost them.” Emily Cordeaux, research grants & evaluation specialist, Crohn's and Colitis Canada, agrees. “A job ad should focus on key competencies, not an exhaustive list of everything a candidate might do.” CharityVillage National Sales Director, Jane Barr, also recommends being crystal clear about your expectations with how a candidate should apply. “If you are only going to consider applicants who have included a cover letter, be sure to spell that out clearly in your posting. Likewise, if you want the application to include a certain reference number, be submitted to a particular email address or person, or provide a sample of previous work, this should be clearly outlined in a ‘how to apply’ section.”

2. Show not tell. Barroll says a job ad should help a job seeker visualize themselves in the role. This could mean using graphics, infographics or even video to tell the story of a role and an organization. It also means cutting out the boring parts. Barroll suggests carefully reading over a job description: “If you’re bored, a young candidate will surely be.” She adds that sometimes even terrific jobs are described in language that buries the resonance, meaning and life of the position. Barr suggests including a link to a page on your website with more information on organizational culture. An added benefit, she says, is that in an interview you can ask questions to see whether a candidate took the time to visit the website and do additional research. “Also,” says Barr, “if you have a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or other social media channels, include a link in the posting so applicants can get a sense of your organization’s culture and personality.”

3. Illustrate the benefits. It’s easy to focus on the specific duties and responsibilities of a role in a job ad, but Barroll counsels those posting job ads to include the plus side of the equation: what a successful candidate will get out of working for the organization in that particular role. This could include opportunities such as working with other teams across the country, going out to do field work, connecting with the community and/or seeing results of your work in real time. This helps a prospective candidate understand the context in which their work will be done.

4. Be authentic and transparent. Cordeaux says, “It’s better to be honest about your context, even if you’ve got big thorny problems, rather than to create false expectations.” She adds, “This may be a generational difference.” Rather than expecting or wanting organizations to always put their best foot forward, “Young folks want radical candor. Don’t sell something that doesn’t exist.”

5. Write clearly. The young people interviewed for Imagine Canada’s 2017 Young People and Nonprofit Work report advises those posting jobs: “Save time and limit misunderstandings for both job applicants and hiring staff by using clear and comprehensive language in job postings. Job descriptions should be easily understood, even by those who are new to work.” It might be useful to have someone outside your subsector read through a job ad to ensure that you aren’t using excessive jargon that would be unclear to a candidate who is new to your work. Barr often sees job postings that are full of acronyms that may be common inside the organization or the sector, but not so common to first-time applicants. “I always recommend spelling out and explaining acronyms. What is an ATS, CMS, etc? Don’t assume that your applicant will know what these are.” Cordeaux also reminds employers not to write off candidates if they don’t get the jargon right in their job application, especially if they are coming from a different background or don’t have extensive experience in your field.

6. Classify the job accurately. A number of young job seekers get stuck in a vicious cycle where relevant paid experience is a requirement even for entry-level positions, a situation which can be almost impossible to remedy. While an organization always wants the most qualified candidates, the Imagine Canada report advises, “Only classify a job as entry-level if it is truly for entry-level applicants, for example, a job that requires three or five years of relevant paid experience is not entry level. If a position is entry-level, think twice before asking for relevant paid experience.” Cordeaux adds, “There is a lack of true entry level positions which means that the sector is missing the opportunity to hire eager talented young people who can’t get their foot in the door.”

7. Think twice about requirements. Cordeaux, who wrote the Imagine Canada report, observes that educational and skill requirements are not always as necessary as an employer might think, and can be real barriers for top candidates. “Think carefully about whether an MA or even a bachelor’s degree is necessary for the position you are hiring for.” She adds, “This can be an unfair hurdle especially if you are trying to increase diversity at your organization.” A good job candidate, Cordeaux says, can be trained for the job.

8. Offer permanent positions where possible. A lot of work in the nonprofit sector can be classified as precarious work, where staff are hired on contracts that may or may not be renewed. For emerging professionals who have significant student debt this can make it difficult to work in the nonprofit sector without the support of parents or a partner working in another sector. Cordeaux says, “Offering a permanent position is a huge draw for younger job seekers.”

9. Talk money. Money is always a contentious issue, especially when lower salaries can potentially mean more money to programs. But, as the Imagine report says, “When salary ranges are disclosed on job postings, job seekers have an easier time identifying whether they are an appropriate candidate and can afford to live on the salary being offered. This is a more efficient hiring process for both hiring staff and applicants.” Cordeaux adds that disclosing a salary range also says a lot about the authentic culture of an organization.

10. Remember you offer more than money. “Juliana,” a job seeker who is considering the nonprofit sector says, “My assumption is that people in the nonprofit sector are getting paid at a discounted rate as compared to private sector. The fact that they are doing social good has played into compensation – they can feel better about their job because they are doing something positive.” But there are also benefits beyond good feelings that can be offered to job seekers. Holly McLellan, executive director, Youth and Philanthropy Initiative Canada, reminds organizations that they can offer benefits such as more vacation time , while Alyssa Lai, co-chair, Connect the Sector says, “Nonprofits get bogged down with salaries and forget there are other things that make a job fulfilling. This could be the opportunity to stretch yourself and to try things out that are slightly out of your wheelhouse, but it could also be things like job titles. I hope employers think about what makes a job fulfilling beyond a salary.”

Susan Fish is a writer/editor at Storywell, a company that helps individuals and organizations tell their story well. She has written for the nonprofit sector for more than two decades and loves a good story.

Please note: While we ensure that all links and email addresses are accurate at their publishing date, the quick-changing nature of the web means that some links to other websites and email addresses may no longer be accurate.

How we engage volunteers

April 9, 2019

How we engage volunteers - At Vantage Point we are advocates of skilled volunteering – which we call knowledge philanthropy. In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to revisit what this concept means to us as an organization. Knowledge philanthropy is the intentional practice of engaging someone’s experience, skills or talent to create a better world – and it’s an incredible way to expand the capacity of not-for-profit work.

ONN partners with DonorPerfect Canada to share Nonprofit Leadership Workbook for Women

April 9, 2019

The Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) has partnered with DonorPerfect Canada to share the Nonprofit Leadership Workbook for Women as one example of a resource for women working in the nonprofit sector that contributes to the decent work movement. Get tried-and-true advice, best practices, and valuable exercises to equip and inspire you to pursue leadership positions within your organization.This workbook was made possible by women leaders in the nonprofit community. These women are living proof that the current gender gap in nonprofit leadership can change to reflect the diversity and inclusivity that organizations champion every day. Topics covered in the workbook include: 3 Goals for Aspiring Leaders; Develop Your Skill Set; Build Your Brand; Adopt a Mentor; Establish Your Network; Collaborate and Shine; Make the Ask.

Millennials are on a quest to find meaningful work — and they're willing to take less pay to get it

April 9, 2019

Millennials are on a quest to find meaningful work — and they're willing to take less pay to get it - Millennial workers want their jobs to hold meaning, and nearly half of them would trade a lucrative raise for a position where they could make a greater impact, new research has found. An online survey of more than 1,500 Canadian office workers found that 47 per cent of millennial respondents would give up a pay raise for more meaningful work. Of those who'd forgo the raise, the average amount they'd give up was $9,639.

Research report proves employee affinity with corporate community investment drives key business outcomes

April 9, 2019

To mark National Volunteer Week, Great Place to Work®, Volunteer Canada and the Corporate Council on Volunteering have collaborated to conduct a comprehensive research study on the impact corporate community investment has on employee engagement. A substantial examination of over 66,000 Canadian responses to Great Place to Work’s most recent Trust Index© employee survey shows that employees who “feel good about the way we contribute to community” are much more likely to feel engaged in their work and their company, which drives key business outcomes. The report – The Business Case for Giving Back - also shares tactics to strengthen employee affinity with community investment and examples from some of the Best Workplaces™ for Giving Back.

What does this mean for employers in a market that is struggling for the best talent? When people feel good about the way their organization contributes to community, they are:

  • 18% more likely to want to work there for a long time, resulting in significantly less voluntary turnover.
  • 79% more likely to endorse their organization to family and friends, resulting in more quality job applicants.
  • 57% more likely to feel they make a difference, which encourages them to try new ways of doing things.
  • Experience a strong sense of teamwork and enjoy higher revenue growth.

Best Workplaces™ for Giving Back companies also demonstrated best practices for involving employees and giving them choice through sharing company Time, Talent, and Treasure:

  • Time - 90% offer employees paid time off to volunteer (compared to 50% of other companies surveyed).
  • Talent - 83% align their community investment efforts with their unique products or technical/professional skills to maximize employee motivation and community impact (compared to 18% of other companies surveyed).
  • Treasure - 100% back up their community investment strategy by offering employee donation matching programs, financial contributions or in-kind donations (compared to 60% of other companies surveyed).

Nature Conservancy of Canada receives $1 million gift

April 9, 2019

In celebration of National Wildlife Week, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is announcing it has received a significant and generous donation: J.D. Irving, Limited has donated $1 million to NCC's national Landmark Campaign. The gift will allow NCC to conserve more habitat for wildlife, complete conservation science and research projects, as well as fund student internships and volunteer programs.

The Small Nonprofit Podcast: Overcoming ableism with Liz Chornenki

April 8, 2019

When you’re designing for any process, system or event, you’re designing for everyone. In this episode, Liz Chornenki, the annual giving officer at YWCA Toronto, shares some practical steps to internal and external design with accessibility in mind!

Ableism - what is it and what does it look like?

Not every disability is visible and chances are, you already work with someone with a disability. So how do we be more inclusive?

The first step is to understand what disabilities are. According to Liz, a disability is anything that affects a person’s physical or mental functioning in society.

When you think of disabilities, it’s common to focus on disabilities we can see, such as individuals who use a wheelchair. What others may not think of are disabilities that aren’t as visible such as hearing loss or mental health conditions like depression or schizophrenia.

It’s common to ignore disabilities if we don’t physically see them, but we should treat each one with respect and be aware of our ableism. Ableism is the presence of attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities. This means that those with disabilities are prevented from being hired, getting services they need or being physically able to access things.

Watch your language!

Language is also really important - there are things that non-disabled people may say that is deeply offensive or triggering to those with disabilities.

Wheelchair-bound is commonly used to describe those who use wheelchairs. However, wheelchairs are seen as a source of freedom and mobility - not something that restricts them. Instead, try “wheelchair user.”

You also don’t want to use words like “stupid, crazy, or insane” because they have been used against those with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. Use words such as “annoying, ridiculous, frustrating or ignorant” instead.

When in doubt, just ask someone within the community and pay attention to the language they use when they speak. Ask them how they refer to themselves - be mindful that everyone may have their own perspective.

Language is something that will continuously change and what is acceptable now may not be in a few years from now, so this is continual work that we all need to be mindful of.

How to build an inclusive environment

We may not realize it, but we can be excluding both existing and potential donors, volunteers and staff. The way you treat them can either make or break your organization’s reputation with not only the individual but with their social circles too.

Let’s say you’re hosting an event - how do you ensure it is accessible?

You need to make sure that your venue has wide door frames and aisles that allow wheelchairs to enter, exit and move around freely. Nothing is worse than being part of a community (or thinking of joining one) and realizing that you can’t participate because you’re automatically blocked from coming inside. It’s also important to ensure that elevators are wheelchair accessible and are in working condition.

Tables are also something that not a lot of organizers think about. Make sure that you refrain from using high cocktail tables or tables that are placed too close together. Otherwise, not everyone can reach the table or comfortably sit at one.

If you’re having speakers, be sure to add sightlines. This means having a sign language interpreter and placing those who need one in a position where they can see them and participate in the discussion. Be careful not to separate them out. You also should look into captioning presentations and videos, and making sure they are accurate.

Speakers should also use microphones, even if it’s a small space so that those who may be hard of hearing can be accommodated. Let them know that any audience questions should be repeated before answering. Liz recommends having a microphone available at each table so that everyone has the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

Make sure that signs are also available in Braille or large print and high contrast so that those with visual impairments are able to see, read and understand the environment they’re in.

Staff

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of disabilities that aren’t visible. It’s very possible that you have disabled staff in your nonprofit organization right now. You may not be accommodating them to the best level that allows them to do their job. Your organization needs to be a place where people feel open and able to disclose their needs. Although staff member may not want to necessarily disclose their disabilities, they need to be able to disclose what you can do for them to make the workplace better.

Liz recommends renting workspaces that are accessible - even if you don’t have any disabled staff right now. If you want to have your staff reflect society to better connect with various aspects of the community, you need to be able to invest in a building that is physically accessible.

Your staff should also be able to work from home if needed without being seen as less productive than their able-bodied coworkers. People with disabilities often face stigma around taking breaks or working remotely - and may experience pain from sitting too long. There also other considerations such as learning disabilities that can be accommodated by providing information in different forms and discussing things in a way that people can understand.

In your employee handbook, ensure that employees know that there is a lot of flexibility on how their work gets done. This can be in the form of alternate working hours, using days off to rest and recover and using sick days without question. You don’t need to reference disability - this is something offered for everyone. Be sure to model this behaviour as well as the management level - this reassures people that this is a safe place.

Being inclusive in the digital world

When it comes to digital in a small nonprofit organization, there is a lot of room for improvement. The first thing to consider is the use of video, especially in social media and digital campaigns. Videos are a great way to engage people, but without captioning, it becomes inaccessible to a lot of people. This includes those who are deaf, hard of hearing, lack the bandwidth to run the video or are in a space where they can turn the sound on. It’s important to have the text at the bottom of your video.

Be sure to provide an option to turn it off as those with learning or neurological disabilities may find it difficult to follow. Don’t rely on automatic closed captioned services from YouTube though, as they aren’t always accurate and can be more confusing. Someone who has a hard time understanding a video without captions isn’t going to understand them any better with bad captions. You can also hire (within budget) or get a volunteer who’s willing to caption your video.

Another thing to consider is image description. Let’s say you’re posting a photo, meme or an infographic on social media or your website, it’s not accessible by itself for those who use screen readers. You need to create a little description of what the image is and either embed it into the image itself or place it above or below the image. If you’re placing an image on your website, you can use alternative text which is what shows up in case an image is unable to load - it’s also what someone using a screen reader would see too!

Need help? call a friend!

Above all, Liz’s main takeaway is to know who your audience is and speak to them about how you can improve your donor communications, digital presence and event spaces. Chances are, you have disabled people in your communities and database and they know best on how you can improve.

You can also hire a person with a disability from your community to consult with you on how to make your organization more accessible on a targeted level. They can bring in their expertise from their lived experiences while also understanding your organization and your audience well.

Accessibility should be the baseline for how your organization interacts with everyone.

Listen to the full episode now on our Small Nonprofit Podcast landing page!

Subscribe & Review in iTunes

Are you subscribed to the podcast? If you’re not, we want to encourage you to do that today. We have even more great interviews coming and we don’t want you to miss an episode. Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Now if you’re feeling extra inspired, we would be really grateful if you left us a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find our podcast. Just open the podcast in iTunes, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let us know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you!

Also listen at:

iTunesGoogle MusicStitcher

Resources from this Episode

The Good Partnership Guide
CharityVillage Fundraising Articles
Liz's Twitter
Google Presentation - closed captioning, Braille display, screen reader
Otter.ai Transcription

Listen to more episodes of the Small Nonprofit Podcast

You are going to change the world. We can help. Running a small nonprofit is not for the faint of heart. With limited resources and fueled by a combination of caffeine and passion, small charity leaders are unsung heroes. The Small Nonprofit podcast, by CharityVillage and The Good Partnership, gives you down-to-earth, practical and actionable expert guidance on how to run a small nonprofit. From leadership and law to fundraising and finance, we’ve got you covered. Forget comparing your organization to the big shops, we’re creating a community of nonprofit leaders who are going to change the world, one small nonprofit at a time. Click here for more episodes!

Your Hosts

Cindy Wagman spent 15 years as an in-house fundraiser at organizations large and small before founding The Good Partnership – a boutique fundraising firm focused on small nonprofits. She has worked in social justice, health, arts, and education organizations. She has overseen and executed everything from annual campaigns to multi-million dollar gifts. She became a Certified Fundraising Executive in 2009 and received her MBA from Rotman at the University of Toronto in 2013.

With more than ten years of experience in development, staff and stakeholder management, strategic thinking, partnerships, board governance, and program development, Aine McGlynn is a diversely talented, self-starter committed to finding creative solutions in unexpected places. Aine holds a PhD from U of T and has a history of academic publishing, along with her decade of nonprofit sector experience. She is a practitioner-scholar focused on how to help nonprofits build their capacity to be successful at fundraising.

The Small Nonprofit Podcast: Strategic planning with Ashley Whitworth

April 8, 2019

We all know that a strategic plan is so important for organizational growth and operations - but it can feel overwhelming and expensive.

In this episode, Ashley Whitworth, senior manager at BDO, teaches us how to run a strategic planning process in a small nonprofit organization. Learn about how to facilitate your process in a busy environment, how to get feedback from BOTH introverts and extroverts, and how to move your organization forward!

Get an organizational health check-up

Whether you do this from a stakeholder perspective or a mission perspective, strategic planning is something that needs to be done on a regular basis. What used to be done every three to five years is now happening even more frequently. Feel like carving out even half a day is impossible with all the things we have to do and hats to juggle? It can be tempting to postpone or rush through it - but this leaves room for countless mistakes!

If you don’t have a lot of time to work with, you can distribute the work in an easier, more manageable way. Try sending an email to folks asking for their “top three challenges or strikes” in your organization or spending 15 minutes simply talking to them individually. It’s important to allow them to speak candidly about any concerns or challenges they face and without fear of punishment. From the management side, it’s important to listen, write them down and ask for suggestions on how to move the organization forward in the right direction.

Phase one: (re)understanding the mission

The first step is to understand how your mission comes to life - which you might find that everyone has a different perspective on. Ask your team what they think the vision or core purpose is, and dig deep into why others may perceive it differently. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, but it’s important to understand how others see your organization and whether or not that matches up with who your organization aspires to be.

Ashley recommends starting off broad and then narrowing ideas down to what can be accomplished realistically and ensures that you’re applying mission-aligned resources that will bring the most value to your organization. It’s also important to note that this process focuses on the end outcome or deliverable, but instead, it focuses on getting the team together to collaborate and get on the same page. This process is as important, if not more important than the actual deliverable.

If the team is able to come together, have a common understanding of where the organization is going and how you’re going to get there, then you know that your entire organization is working in the same direction, at the same pace - this is efficiency.

Phase two: encouraging staff participation

Have you had a discussion with your team and when it came to raising concerns, no one raised their voice? There are so many reasons why people don’t participate. But strategic plans should include everybody. Whether it’s to avoid saying or asking something silly, or because they’re worried about being punished, it’s crucial to set the tone and create a safe space.

It’s hard to have a conversation with someone one-on-one if you don’t feel welcomed or if they are judgemental - and your staff will agree. Make sure that you are doing your part to contribute to a positive workspace. If there is any chance that there is an “us vs. them” situation, elect someone who is perceived as being non-judgemental, and trusted by and welcoming of front-line workers. It is also helpful to find someone who works between management and team members or someone who isn’t from the organization at all.

If your staff is worried or anxious about raising concerns, try implementing a method that is safe, collaborative and objective. Ashley suggests using and distributing same-coloured 4x6 sticky notepads and thick pens or markers so their answers can be visible from afar. Ask your staff questions and have them write down their answers at the same time, and then collect them. Then ask the next question and repeat. By the time you go through all the answers for each question, there will be no way of identifying who said what. You can start off with positive questions (such as asking them to list a value they appreciate in the organization) and then head into feedback questions.

After doing this feedback process a couple of times, introverted people will become more open to sharing opinions. You can also count on this as a great way to evaluate whether or not their perception of the organization matches the mission and what needs to be worked on going forward. By allowing people to contribute and write things down without verbalizing it to the room, you provide anonymity for collecting feedback which encourages everyone (regardless of whether or not they are extroverted or introverted) to participate in the process.

Beware of the risks

Be aware of risks that can happen during this phase of the process such as an opportunity for people to place blame when discussing any issues or concerns. Try not to frame the first few questions around the organization and any issues or concerns. Instead, ask them positive questions about their values, the values of the organization and how they fit into the mission first. Then from there, ask the more hard-hitting questions.

Ashley also suggests role-playing with staff and envisioning them as a client. Ask them how they would view the organization from the outside looking in and what things are done exceptionally well. By doing so, you’ll find that there is a lot to unpack but helps steer the whole organization back on the right track and as a unified team.

Phase three: evaluating the findings

Now that you have all this information, it’s time to look for trends and understand what it all means and how it impacts your organization. When you’re uncovering all these emerging trends, you can now have the ability to narrow down your scope in terms of how to recognize and prioritize next steps. You can take a step back and look at exactly how much funding you have, what resources are available to you and the capacity the organization has to deliver. This keeps your organization focused on what is realistic and weed out what is not.

Instead of focusing on hundreds of things, you should be able to identify three or four big priorities to focus on. This also includes thinking about how to train or educate people around how this accomplishes the shared vision and how to do it well.

It’s also important to remember that these plans are not set in stone. By reevaluating and restrategizing on a consistent basis, you can adjust your plan to keep your organization steered on the right path. This process is not just like a template you fill in just to complete - otherwise, it becomes seen as a deliverable instead of understanding the end outcome you’re trying to achieve. Always be ready to change course if the route you’re taking is no longer headed towards fulfilling the mission.

Listen to the full episode now on our Small Nonprofit Podcast landing page!

Subscribe & Review in iTunes

Are you subscribed to the podcast? If you’re not, we want to encourage you to do that today. We have even more great interviews coming and we don’t want you to miss an episode. Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Now if you’re feeling extra inspired, we would be really grateful if you left us a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find our podcast. Just open the podcast in iTunes, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let us know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you!

Also listen at:

iTunesGoogle MusicStitcher

Resources from this Episode

The Good Partnership Guide
Watch Ashley's Strategic Planning recorded webinar
BDO Canada - Not-for-Profit
Jim Collins' Good to Great

Listen to more episodes of the Small Nonprofit Podcast

You are going to change the world. We can help. Running a small nonprofit is not for the faint of heart. With limited resources and fueled by a combination of caffeine and passion, small charity leaders are unsung heroes. The Small Nonprofit podcast, by CharityVillage and The Good Partnership, gives you down-to-earth, practical and actionable expert guidance on how to run a small nonprofit. From leadership and law to fundraising and finance, we’ve got you covered. Forget comparing your organization to the big shops, we’re creating a community of nonprofit leaders who are going to change the world, one small nonprofit at a time. Click here for more episodes!

Your Hosts

Cindy Wagman spent 15 years as an in-house fundraiser at organizations large and small before founding The Good Partnership – a boutique fundraising firm focused on small nonprofits. She has worked in social justice, health, arts, and education organizations. She has overseen and executed everything from annual campaigns to multi-million dollar gifts. She became a Certified Fundraising Executive in 2009 and received her MBA from Rotman at the University of Toronto in 2013.

With more than ten years of experience in development, staff and stakeholder management, strategic thinking, partnerships, board governance, and program development, Aine McGlynn is a diversely talented, self-starter committed to finding creative solutions in unexpected places. Aine holds a PhD from U of T and has a history of academic publishing, along with her decade of nonprofit sector experience. She is a practitioner-scholar focused on how to help nonprofits build their capacity to be successful at fundraising.

Youth-led community service grants accepting applications

April 8, 2019

Do you have a simple project idea to support your community? TakingITGlobal (TIG) is looking for young people who are inspired with ideas and ready to take action through youth-led community service grants. Three levels of grants are available:

  • $250 for simple ideas - like community events or gatherings - that can be implemented by you and your friends. Deadline is April 30.
  • $750 for bigger ideas that can be implemented with a small group of peers, such as building a community garden, or distributing care packages. Deadline is April 30
  • $1500 for projects that involve a larger group of people to drive impact. Projects at this level of funding need a budget and a mentor or community reference to apply. Deadline is June 30

Get more information, access a funding checklist and get inspiration for your projects here.

The RBC Foundation and Community Foundations of Canada to deliver multi-million dollar investment for youth-led initiatives

April 5, 2019

Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and the RBC Foundation are pleased to announce the RBC Future Launch Community Challenge, a historic $5 million initiative that will enable participating community foundations to support youth leadership across the country. This partnership will support youth-led community projects in 150 small to mid-sized Canadian communities from coast-to-coast. Grants of up to $15,000 will be available through participating community foundations, and will support projects that address diverse and urgent local priorities, including food security, employment, learning, health and the environment. As part of the initiative, participating foundations will also facilitate ‘Vital Conversations,’ where young people and other community members are brought together to participate in a dialogue about priorities for the future. Young people will also have access to a series of remote and national learning opportunities to help them build their skills, gain practical experience, and grow their professional networks. Additional details, and the application period to submit a grant proposal will be available through the participating community foundations on May 22, 2019.

Invest in careers of Millennial fundraisers to avert imminent ‘talent crisis’: Report

April 3, 2019

The fundraising sector in the USA will face a worsening ‘talent crisis’ if it fails to invest in the career development of Millennial fundraisers. The warning comes in a new report – the Critical Fundraising (USA) Report – published by the international fundraising think tank Rogare and launched at the AFP International Conference. In one of the report’s essays, Oklahoma-based senior fundraiser James Green, MBA, CFRE, points out that the average tenure for early career fundraisers is just under 2.5 years per job. That’s the same as it was 20 years ago. The problem, Green argues, is that many nonprofits base their management strategies on an “outdated organizational theory which dictates that employees are obligated to ‘remain loyal’ to their employer for an ill-defined period of time.” This might have worked for Baby Boomers and members of the Golden Generation, who were promised job security, but it fails to accommodate the aspirations of the Millennial Generation, who want career growth.

SVP Calgary accepting funding applications from organizations supporting youth

April 3, 2019

Are you ready to take your organization to the next level? SVP Calgary is looking for nonprofits that want a different kind of funding relationship. Their annual granting cycle is now live. Over the past year, SVP Calgary has been heavily engaged in determining how to increase their community impact. Through extensive research and conversations with experts, SVP Calgary is making a five-year commitment to invest in nonprofit organizations that support youth ages 12-15. Specifically, they are looking to partner with an organization that focuses in the areas of prevention and out of school hours (i.e. before school, after school, evenings, weekends and days off school). Prevention includes focusing on vulnerable populations and offering strength-based programming, building skills and resiliency, forming natural supports, mentorship and more. Does this sound like an organization you work for or know of? Check out the SVP Calgary – Applicant Guide 2019 to see if your organization is eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is April 18, 2019.

ABC Media Sale offers discounted advertising for a good cause

April 3, 2019

Do you need to make an announcement, get the word out, promote an event, new product or service? Would you love to be able to advertise but can’t afford to? How cool would it be to place your ad and help support literacy at the same time? With the ABC Media Sale you can! The 19th annual ABC Media Sale for literacy launches on Monday April 29th 2018 at 9 AM EDT.

ABC Life Literacy Canada’s largest fundraiser of the year, is an online sale of advertising space generously donated by leading media across the country. This ad space is then sold at an incredible 65% off the rate card price to key media buyers like you. Funds raised from these ad sales goes directly towards ABC Life Literacy’s essential literacy programming and the creation of educational resources for adult learners and families across Canada.

This year the ABC Media Sale reflects a wide range of media platforms from newspapers such as The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post, magazines like Maclean’s, HELLO! Canada and The Walrus to online websites like ctv.ca, cbc.ca, and TheTyee.ca to posters on buses and streetcars to digital screens on campuses, restaurants, bars and food courts across the country. They have advertising in niche publications such as Cosmetics, Quench and TEACH to local media such as West Coast Families, Burlington Post, and 680News Radio. They have something for everyone at a price anyone can afford! To access the ABC Media Sale advertisers simply register for free here.

Young Canadians encouraged to enter to win a trip to the first-ever Canada Youth Summit

April 3, 2019

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the first-ever Canada Youth Summit will be held in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 2 and 3, 2019. The Summit will bring together 300 young people from every province and territory to discuss issues that matter to them, from protecting our environment and fighting climate change, to supporting good jobs and service opportunities, to building more equal and inclusive communities. Young Canadians who would like to attend the Summit are invited to participate in the Youth Video Challenge. They can enter to win a trip to the Summit by posting a video on social media using the hashtag #InspiredToServe, capturing what service means to them and how it benefits their community, and submitting an online application. Eligible Canadians from 18 to 24 years old who would like to participate in the Youth Video Challenge have until April 14 to share their video.

Immigration Matters initiative invites you to share your community's success stories

April 3, 2019

The Immigration Matters initiative aims to show the benefits of immigration at the local, community level. They are looking for your help to find stories of immigrants who are making a strong contribution to cities, towns and neighbourhoods across Canada. They would also like your help starting the conversation in the community you know best – your own. They invite you to promote the stories you find – on Instagram, Facebook, in your newsletters and with local media. If you post or publish a story, email them and use the hashtag #ImmigrationMatters. They can then help promote your local stories through the Immigration Matters website, on social media channels, and at events, speaking opportunities and panel discussions. Check out the Toolkit for more information, ideas for sharing on social media, research and statistics and more!

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