Recruitment Challenges, there’s a shortage …

Came across New Zealand’s shortage of fundraisers. A recruiter’s view on Saturn Group’s website.

We all know there’s shortages of skilled people across many sectors, we almost hear it daily; but we seldom hear about the shortage of skilled fundraisers.

Have a read of New Zealand’s shortage of fundraisers. A recruiter’s view, to understand what’s happening.

Social Media Fallout

You may have seen the article on about the hotel employee who was dismissed for making disparaging comments on Facebook about a blogger; how would you handle something like this, do you have a policy about what staff (and volunteers) can say and do with their personal time, their person social media posts?

Have a read of the article, then have a think about how you would handle such a situation.

Hotel worker sacked over abusive Facebook post to columnist

A Sydney hotel supervisor has lost his job after making a sexist and offensive comment on the Facebook page of Fairfax Media columnist Clementine Ford.

The Meriton Group confirmed that Michael Nolan was no longer employed by the company, after he labelled Ford a “slut” when she spoke out publicly against misogyny and online harassment.

Ford, a weekly columnist for Daily Life, made a number of posts on her Facebook page on White Ribbon Day, which aims to prevent men’s violence against women, in which she highlighted recent examples of online harassment she had received.

Ford included screenshots of a number of abusive messages that had been sent to her, including images Ford said were a “little violent in theme”, and included unsolicited images of male genitalia.

Continue reading  the full article here

There are organisations that have internal social media policies, these generally state that an employee/volunteer won’t say or do anything that will bring the organisation into disrepute. They often will also point out the consequences should someone say or do something that could tarnish the reputation of the organisation.

But, is this acceptable, can an organisation state what an employee can or can’t do in their own time?

What’s your take?

Note: I don’t condone bullying, trolling or any such behaviour, so I am not defending the guys actions, merely raising a point of discussion.

Who’s making the Decisions?

It never ceases to amaze me that senior management in an organisation make the decision to change a campaign message, campaign objectives and more without any discussion from those on the frontline doing the work.

Sometimes the first the frontline staff know about a change is when it has occurred and, if they the fundraising team this can have a big impact not only on how they do their work, but also on their morale.

If management are thinking about changing course, modifying the message (and delivery) they are giving to supporters, wouldn’t it make sense to have your staff involved in the decision making process?

Those doing the day-to-day fundraising are likely to have a better picture of what is and what isn’t working, they will have an idea of how your message is being received and, as such have valuable information that could help you make the decision/s about whether change is needed.

Often frontline staff will feel resentment if decisions are made without any consultation and this can have negative impact on how they do their job; is this something you can afford in this competitive sector?

Any organisation, non-profit or for profit needs to have two way communication, if staff aren’t feeling engaged with what’s happening, if their views are being sought and aren’t valued; you run the risk of having a disenfranchised team – is this something you can afford?

When you make decisions, what discussion do you have with your frontline staff; or are you just doing what you think is needed?

What do you do when staff come to you and suggest changes to a campaign, is this something you take seriously, or do yo just shrug it off?

See also

Staff Morale – Is it a reflection on the Organisation?

Do you appreciate your staff?

Are your Staff Interested?

Who in your organisation is watching what’s happening in the community, particularly in the area your organisation works in?

It is surprising to hear from people employed in some organisations say “It’s not my job to look at what’s happening”.

I would have thought, like others in any role that staff in general would have some interest in knowing what others are doing, what’s in the news and what people are talking about on social media.

If staff are truly engaged with what the organisation they work with then, surely they would have an interest in what is happening in the sector, what people are talking about and more.

Are you encouraging your staff to look and learn?

When people work in fashion, they show an interest in what’s happening, what the trends are; it should be the same with your staff.

If your staff (you) aren’t interested in the bigger picture, it could be seen that they perhaps are only interested in the pay cheque; hopefully I’m wrong about this, but from what I’ve seen and heard lately I think I maybe right – I’m happy to be proven wrong.

I’ve previously written on topics such as:

Are you supported by your board and staff?

What’s Happening – are You Watching?

And think it’s timely to start the conversation, again, about having a team of people in your organisation, who do more than just go through the motion of raising funds; they need to be engaged with the organisation, they need to be interested in the bigger picture. If they’re not then you could be missing out on opportunities.

What are you doing to get your staff engaged, what could you be doing differently to get them engaged?

Do you talk with your staff about the bigger picture, about what’s happening, do you share relevant articles you come across; are you even reading them yourself?

I’d be keen to know what happens in your organisation, please let me know in the comments below.

To Incentivise or Not?

Fundraising isn’t an easy job, ask anyone who has been doing it for some time; they’ll say they enjoy the work, the challenge and like the fact that what they are doing is helping someone else.

But, are fundraisers missing out. People in sales and marketing roles in the private sector receive not only their salary but also performance bonuses; often in the non-profit sector this doesn’t happen.

The reason why there’s no performance incentive is often because of perception that money given for charitable purposes is being redirected to pay over inflated wages; as anyone in the non-profit sector knows, wages, pay are not over inflated; actually often the pay scale in the non-profit sector is below what someone would earn in the private sector.

Staff turnover in the fundraising area of charities can be high, and it could be that those who are performing well are feeling frustrated and feel that their efforts aren’t being recognised (or rewarded).

It’s recognised that organsations have some hesitation in giving rewards, or paying any form of commission due to either public perception of charity money being “misused” or due to other restrictions (such as sector organisations not permitting such payments); that’s understandable. However, there are ways that fundraisers can be recognised, as said early, an extra day off or similar.

What we need to ask is, is it wrong for people to be rewarded for doing well in ensuring funds are available for the beneficiaries of an organisation?

If fundraisers can’t be recognised or rewarded for doing well, organisations could run the risk of having empty desks and empty bank accounts; that would be more harmful to the organisation and its beneficiaries than some small acknowledgement of a job well done.

I have seen some fundraisers being rewarded through special gifts from major supporters; supporters who acknowledge the hard (and stressful) job of fundraising; such as a hotel that would make a room available once a year for an extended weekend to be used by the fundraiser who brought in the most new donor support.

There are ways fundraisers can be rewarded, often it only needs some lateral thinking to come up with a method.

Do you incentivise your fundraisers?

Should fundraisers be rewarded?

Background Checks

Background checks are a necessity for many organisations but, when the cost of checks starts to eat away at finances needed for the core functions of an organisation things need to change. Either charities could be given an exemption from having to pay a proposed fee or the fee could be reduced to a token amount.

It would appear from article in the NZHerald that many organisations (and the people they assist) will suffer …

Charities and volunteer groups are warning the Government they will have to cut back on their services if a proposed charge on criminal checks goes ahead.

Non-profit organisations such as the Cancer Society, Age Concern, the Blind Foundation and others have asked to be exempted from a proposed $5 to $7 charge for police vetting, which is currently provided at no cost.

They say organisations which provide a public good, depend solely on donations and have a large proportion of volunteer staff should not have to cough up for the service.

A parliamentary select committee began hearing submissions last week on the law change which would allow the Government to charge for police services. Ministers have promised that vetting will be the only service to incur a charge.

Some cash-strapped groups estimated new costs of $5000 to $10,000 a year if they needed to pay for criminal checks.

The Blind Foundation said it looked after a large number of children, and under a law change last year it was required to vet all its staff. It estimated a new bill of at least $2500 a year.

The Police Association agreed with the groups. Its members supported moves to reduce the strain on the frozen police budget but believed cost recovery should be limited to private commercial interests.

The bill would give powers to the minister to make exemptions but it’s not yet clear how these will be used.

Police Minister Michael Woodhouse could not be reached yesterday, but his predecessor, Anne Tolley, emphasised that the proposed charge was much lower than the $50 to $60 paid for criminal checks in parts of Australia.

The Teachers Council, which is legally required to vet teachers and makes 40,000 checks a year, also opposed the bill.

Acting director Rob McIntosh said vetting was one of the police’s core functions and it should not be considered an additional service such as dealing with lost and found property or running the Police Museum.

He said police vetting of teachers was one of the key tools for protecting children and young people.

Criminal checks

• Between 450,000 and 500,000 criminal checks a year

• Estimated cost to police of $2.2 million

• Some organisations, such as those that work with children, legally required to vet staff

• Government wants to charge $5 to $7 for checks.

From NZHerald Monday 16 Feb 2015

Does your organisation do police background checks, what impact will a proposed fee have on your organisation?

Staff Morale – Is it a reflection on the Organisation?

When was the last time you took a helicopter view of your organisation, taking particular look at your staff?

The way staff interact with each other, the way they speak about the organisation can indicate how they feel about the organisation. Not their job, but about the organisation as a whole.

Staff who don’t speak highly of the organisation may have reasons for this, are they feeling under valued, have they been passed over for promotion?

It is important to look at the picture your staff are painting, if they’re painting an unfavourable picture about the organisation and sharing this with colleagues; they could be “poisoning” others and, there’s also the risk that they’re sharing this outside of work.

If staff are poisoning others, it won’t be long before their negativity rubs off on others, the sooner you spot something and act the better.

Unless you’re in touch with how staff are feeling you’re lost in the dark, you need to be speaking with your staff to hear their views, their opinions about their job, their worth within the organisation and, their overall view about the organisation and the work being it does.

If you’re staff are at the front of the organisation, it may be more important to be listening to what they have to say, if they’re feeling disenfranchised this could come across in their interactions with those they deal with – potentially negatively impacting on service delivery and funding opportunities.

When new staff join an organisation, if there is negativity among staff this can have a detrimental effect on the way new staff interact and perform in their role. If they’re feeling “out of place”, feeling as though they’ve made the wrong choice, it could impact on the employment costs of the organisation; and could even result in action in employment court.

Many companies and, organisations conduct regular performance reviews which is important, however unless these are a two-way process they can miss opportunities, miss indications of low morale in the staff.

Staff reviews should be conducted at least annually, some are conducted every six months; but as a rule, don’t conduct them less than once each year.

And, in between – always – keep an eye and ear out for what staff are saying.

What they are saying could be just what you hear to make changes you’ve been pondering, even negative comments can create valuable opportunities for an organisation to grow and flourish.

Do you conduct staff reviews, if so has there been anything come to light from these that has helped your organisation grow and perhaps change they way things were done?

What gems have you learned from staff reviews?

Recruiting staff – what do you ask … ?

Almost all employment processes include checking name, date of birth, address, employment history and, of course reference checks. There’s also the usual interview questions about goals and aspirations, what the applicant likes and doesn’t like in a role, what their greatest achievement has been – all the “usual”.

But, what questioning is done around why the applicant really wants the job, what they feel about the sector, what organisations (if any) they support and why?

If you’re looking for someone who “fits” your organization, surely you’d want to know that they are to some degree philanthropic, community minded at least.

Sure there might be some casual conversation around community, nonprofits etc, but wouldn’t it be better if applicants were asked outright about their involvement etc in the community?

Yes, some applicants will be people who have or are currently working in the community, so there’s a given that they do have some “involvement”, but simply working for a community organization doesn’t mean the person is “community minded.”

So, next time you’re conducting interviews – ask “are there organizations you support in the community?” – “what organizations do you support?”

Job Vacancies and Applicants

Having recently spoken with an organisation looking to recruit some staff and the standard of applications received, I thought lets see what others think about how people apply for jobs.

The organisation I spoke with were looking for general staff, the advertisement was specific in what they were looking for; experience in the sector, a high of communication (written and oral), ability to be flexible in hours.

The applications the received were, without being too blunt – poor. Not the people, but the way in which the applications were written, many used what you’d expect in a text message on your phone “Hi, I c u r looking 4 staff  …. ” and that was only the covering email/letter. Do people not read ads before applying for roles?

Then you get to the CV – they’re generally filled with “fluff” such as “I’m dependable, articulate and have a high standard of righting etc … ” (no that wasn’t a spelling mistake.)

Come on, if you can’t if you can’t even write proper like – how can you say you have a hight standard? 

And, why do people want to show what they look like, photos are a waste of time – people want to know what you can do, what your experience is, not what you look like. And hey, ladies if you must include a photo, please – no cleavage shots, unless of course you going for a role that requires you to be busty. And, on that note, why does it only seem to be women who include a photo?

Employers want to know your experience, skills and what drives you, they don’t want to know that you’re a size 8 … that you know how to apply eyeliner – they want to know that what you have to offer fits the role.

What’s your experience when it comes to employing new staff? 

Are you finding it a challenge to read applications? Getting distracted by photos and the endless waffle some seem to think might help them gain an interview?

I’m sure there are some organisations and recruiters out there who can shed some light on what applicants should and shouldn’t include when applying … would be great to hear your thoughts.

Your Team – Remember there’s no “I” in Team

Having just read likeable business (Dave Kerpen – MC Graw-Hill) and specifically the chapter Team Player, I got to thinking about the culture in nonprofit organizations, having seen, been in and generally observed many nonprofits I got to thinking about how many are lead from the top down, with very little, if any input being sought from the team as to how things are done.

Some organizations have paid money for staff satisfaction surveys to find out what staff feel about the organization, why they work there, and general views about the way the organization is operated – only for the ‘findings’ to sit in a folder either on someones desk or computer. These surveys have been a waste of time and money, and quite likely they’ve negatively affected staff morale – with staff likely to have thought that their input would have been taken seriously and where possible changes made.

Organizations need to not only listen to the people they’re supporting, the wider community – but they must also listen to those working in the organization, those on the ground. Gone are the days when CEOs could operate an organization wielding a stick – this doesn’t work, CEOs need all the help, support and input they can get.

The culture of any organization is one of the most important jobs of any leader, however that culture has to come from throughout – it’s not something that can be forced on people from the top down. The culture of any organization is what those working in it make it to be.

As Lance Walker CEO of Loyalty New Zealand said in a recent article in Idealog “Leaders need to take a nurturing role to establish an environment where great cultures can develop from within the community of the people.”

People need to feel they are part of the organization, that their voice is heard – that they are part of the TEAM, not that they are merely carrying out the ‘orders’ of those higher up.

Any organization that doesn’t listen to, that doesn’t empower staff risk missing out on the potential for staff development and personal growth – this in time, will likely negatively impact on the organization.

When staff feel that what the have to say is being heard, morale of the organization will be higher than in an organization lead from the top down, can you organization afford not to listen to what staff have to say? Do you want to be part of an organization with low morale – and likely high staff turnover, no you don’t. Now is the time to work on the culture of your team/s, why not take some time out to hear what staff have to say, to listen to their suggestion and guide them into building and open team – don’t be afraid to invite staff to management meetings, their voice is important.

What will you do to empower staff, to help build an open supportive culture where staff feel they’re valued?

Any change will be change for the good. Don’t be afraid to try different things, leaders need to step outside their comfort zone sometimes.