Nonprofits: Passionate As Your Employees Are, You Still Need HR

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The problem with trying to change the world is that you really want to put every dollar toward fighting cancer, feeding the poor, tending to the dying or rescuing animals–not toward air conditioning, insurance or HR. But it can’t be avoided. Nonprofits have all the same HR needs for-profit clients have—sometimes even more complicated ones.

So, here are times when you need to budget for HR as a line item as important as air conditioning in August:

When You’re Recruiting. This is a big one. You want someone passionate. But you also need someone professional, with the right skill set. It’s a sad fact that some nonprofits assume they have to hire second-best employees because they can’t compete in salaries with for-profit companies. But research shows that’s really not true. In fact, non-monetary rewards are exponentially more likely to produce great work than monetary ones. The key is to find someone who has the skills you need and is passionate about your cause. Then provide that person with a reward system more valuable than money-stuff like autonomy, creative license, and the chance to make a personal difference. You need somebody on your team with enough HR experience to strategize incentives that will bring great people to your organization.

Establishing Compliance: No matter how noble your mission, if you make a mistake and get in trouble for illegal hiring or firing, safety violations or other forms of stumbling over federal, state or city violations, it’s going to give you a black eye. Not only will the public look at you funny—the ones who give you money—but potential board members might think twice about signing up, too. Don’t let reams of HR legalese trip up an otherwise great organization.

For Certain Training Projects: We’ve all seen it. You take someone who is amazing at his job and promote him to manager where he flops. Being a manager takes a whole different skill set. Amazing employees can become great managers, but they need to be trained how to be great managers

More than any other kind of business, nonprofits have to have great employees and show impeccable accountability. But if you can find a company—okay like ValentineHR–that will work with you, like creating management training classes that share the cost across many organizations, you can afford quality HR. You can’t really afford to be without it. We like changing the world, too.

We work with organizations on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your group. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.

We work with companies on a project basis or on retainer, providing a custom level of HR help designed for your business, with offices in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Contact me at Caroline@valentinehr.com or call (512) 420-8267.