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Non-Profit Organizations Employee Retention

Employee Retention in the Non-Profit Sector

Retention Challenges and Solutions for Non-Profits

As the third largest employment sector in the country, non-profit organizations face unique challenges in staff retention. The industry is projecting significant job growth but while 64% of non-profit organizations have a formal recruitment strategy, only 16% have a retention strategy. Considering the industry’s 19% turnover rate, it is more important than ever for non-profits to focus on the high turnover in non-profit organizations. Does your organization have an employee retention strategy? Consider what Not-for-Profits and NGO’s are facing right now:

  • Since 2014, the second biggest challenge for nonprofit employers has been finding qualified staff.
  • The record high turnover in non-profit organizations will continue alongside record low unemployment
  • While 64% of non-profit organizations have a recruitment strategy, only 16% have a retention strategy
  • 47% of non-profit employees who leave their jobs plan to stay in the non-profit sector

MYTHBUSTING Causes of the Non-Profit Burnout Rate

People are not leaving due to compensation. Many employees working in the non-profit sector know they could earn higher pay elsewhere. They are intrinsically motivated to work towards the mission of their organization. When employees leave their nonprofit positions, about half report they will stay within the sector. Unfortunately, intrinsic drive is not always enough to outweigh the daily challenges of non-profit work. Non-profits depend on contracts, grants, sponsorships, and donations to maintain their operations. Employees are regularly constrained and stressed by limited resources and fear of layoffs. When organizations lose contracts and funding, employees who survive the layoff are expected to cover double the work with even fewer resources. This combination of uncertainty and excessive caseload influences many to quit. But there are options, and Retensa has reduced turnover in non-profits for nearly 20 years.


Employee Engagement in Non-Profit Organizations

With decreased headcount, increased workload, and continuous challenges in the field, it is no wonder that non-profit employees frequently report feeling overworked and underpaid. Stacks of overdue paperwork, lack of recognition, and the inability to see an immediate positive impact often diminishes motivation. Non-profits want the best for their employees but are dealing with their own resource strains. Given the rising uncertainty from government funding, it is critical that employee recruitment and retention strategies for non-profits are both impactful and affordable. Fortunately, technology reduced the costs of predictive analytics, will non-profits finally adopt them? The not-for-profits that survive will need more than just mission and purpose. They will have to answer: How can we predict those who are more likely to leave? What can be done to ensure our people stay longer? That’s where Retensa comes in. Consider  3 options to start:

  1. Retention Skills Training: Managing projects and budgets are only part of what is required to execute the mission of your organization. Retention Skills Training will teach your managers to engage and inspire their people. Non-profit employees are hard-working and dedicated. They deserve an investment in their development. Providing your management with data-driven training creates a meaningful impact because it is based on customized insights from the employees at your organization.
  2. Exit Interviews: Start with actionable intelligence from Exit Interviews. Using a third party like Retensa to conduct exit interviews creates the safety net people need to avoid burning bridges and be really honest about why they are leaving. Technology makes this more affordable than ever. Ask the right questions to pinpoint the root causes for turnover and prepare strategies to help increase retention today.
  3. Retention Diagnostic: Get prioritized recommendations with a data-driven Retention DiagnosticThis will identify the areas where your organization excels, where it can focus, and all the “noise” to ignore. Non-profit work will always be subject to limited resources, budget constraints, and overworked employees. Focus on the issues you can control. Reducing turnover requires knowing more than the root causes of low morale, high absenteeism, or disengagement. You need clear and actionable recommendations.


Retention does not get easier by itself. But there are practical and affordable strategies that work. Call us now at (212) 545-1280 or email a retention expert here to align your mission, vision, and strategy with the retention of your people.