Is Your Nonprofit’s HR Sabotaging Your Mission?

Many Fail on Living Wages, Women’s Equality, and Racial Equity

A wooden house leans precariously to the right in a bucolic field.
Photo by Gilles Desjardins on Unsplash

The Donor Excuse

One excuse is that “donors expect a low overhead”. But, please, paying a living wage isn’t overhead. It’s the cost of operations. A decent benefits package isn’t overhead. It is investment. It prevents rapid staff turnover, which can be deadly expensive in both money and operational continuity.

The Small Business Excuse

In the US, small businesses aren’t expected to allow people to go on long family leave — even unpaid — because it would interrupt operations too much. A lot of nonprofits run lean, relying on volunteers to get things done instead of paid staff. Because the number of people on payroll is so low, they then qualify as small businesses.

The “Most Qualified” Excuse

The other, and often far more glaring, staffing discrepancy is the White to Black ratio. If I have to scroll down three times on the “Our Team” webpage before I see an African-American in the frame, then you have a problem. If you have 60% Black staff at the entry-level, 30% at the mid-career level, and 10% at the top, you also have a problem. In fact, take a look at your board. I’m looking at it. Because even if you have great diversity at the bottom, if the people at the top are all White men over the age of 60, you have some problems.

Simple Solutions

Hire good talent and treat them well.

Freelance writer trying to make the world a better place

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