The Balance Needed to Protect Your Nonprofit’s Vision

Photo Credit: _gee_ via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: _gee_ via Compfight cc

Most nonprofits have to balance many, many priorities and obligations, especially if they have Medicaid contracts or contracts with the state’s Department of Family and Children Services or the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Between raising funds and doing the work and protecting the people you serve and protecting the employees and volunteers who help you do the work,  you have a lot to determine.

Nowhere is this need to balance budget and expediency with wisdom than in your nonprofit’s hiring practices.

Who works for you? 

I recently spoke with a nonprofit leader who has to pay a masters degree educated employee much less than he’d like to. Yet the work gets done well. If you knew the reputation of this organization, you’d be amazed at what they are able to accomplish.

Many of us in the for-profit world don’t always understand. Even those of us who provide services for nonprofits. Our services will always cost money… money that the nonprofit would prefer to spend elsewhere.

Often these nonprofits are serving at-risk, vulnerable individuals. And they have to do so with employees who are worth much, much more than they are paid.

Usually, these employees are willing to continue to serve and serve well.  Sometimes, though, the inability to hire the cream of the crop creates risk management issues.

Can a nonprofit afford to be expedient in order to have warm bodies to do the work? 

Is it best practices to serve the most vulnerable with the least qualified?

The key is to find the best hearts with quality experience and education.

Easier said than done.

The worst option, though, is to cut corners. Hiring fast and hiring out of fear or worry or stress is not the answer

Protecting your nonprofit’s vision requires that you hire slow and fire fast. It requires that you create a culture of care by only inviting individuals in who have a heart for the population you serve.

You might not be able to offer the moon, but you can offer purpose.

Go slow. Hire wisely.

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