A Crazy Hiring Practice of Nonprofits
I have been hearing more and more lately about nonprofits that practice what I call "Hiring to the last dollar."
What this means is the organization hires someone as soon as it is fiscally possible. There may not be a dollar left over for training, development or equipment for the new position, but the perceived community need overwhelms any planning for the costs inherent in hiring and retaining quality people.
A related issue is the pursuit of grant funding that is limited to hiring new staff. Chasing program-restricted grant dollars is a choice, not a requirement, for today's nonprofit. If you honestly feel trapped by the need to chase these dollars, you should also be exploring alternative revenue streams to ensure that you eventually can pass on grants that you know are not good for your organization.
The reason this matters is that it leads to a vicious cycle of paying employees too little. Paying the same low salary as every other nonprofit because it is "the prevailing wage" only ensures that your employees will keep one eye open for a position with a real pay increase.
It is so much better for your organization and for your employees to employ 20 people who are well-paid and well-supported with training and equipment than to scrape by with 30 people who are paid mediocre wages and punch their keyboard every morning as the computer takes 10 minutes to load.
Hiring probably is the most important thing you do for your organization. Why not do it in the best way possible for your long-term success?