staff team

I hate to ask, but...

I hate to ask, but...

Posted in staff team / members / stakeholders

Does this sound familiar? Its late on Friday afternoon. You're trying to wrap up the work week before you leave for the weekend, then an email pops up in your inbox. A request for a letter of support. Whatever you have time to provide, right? The request comes from a group that does...


Non-Profit Gift Guide

Non-Profit Gift Guide

Posted in office operations / vacation / staff team

People take jobs at non-profits, especially small and rural non-profits, knowing very clearly that they will not be paid anything close to their counterparts in the for-profit sector. Demonstrate an employee is valued. That disparity in wages is usually significant enough that it can be as...


Is it too much?

Is it too much?

Posted in executive director / operations plan / staff team

The current year is wrapping up. Planning is well underway for next year. Non-profit boards will meet to write their strategic plan and then hand it to the staff team to turn into programs and services for the next operating year. Sometimes, in the excitement of operational brainstorming...


My team makes me thankful!

My team makes me thankful!

Posted in hiring / executive director / staff team

Creating an amazing staff team is one of the biggest challenges a non-profit executive director will face. Whether by luck, endless cycles of hiring, or simply waiting long enough, there is nothing more exciting than when that amazing team finally happens. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want...


Now what?

Now what?

Posted in operations plan / staff team / programs and services

The strategic planning session is done. The board is happy with the results. The goals, outcomes, and indicators have been decided. Everything is handed over to the executive director for the next step. Now what? I don’t know what to do! A non-profit executive director’s part in...


The challenges of non-profit HR

The challenges of non-profit HR

Posted in hiring / financial management / staff team

Much time is spent reviewing and planning the governing model of a non-profit board of directors letting the operational model of the staff team develop organically, and sometimes a little haphazardly. Limited budgets make choosing the right HR model, critical to achieve goals with the right...


3 Time-Off Ideas When You Can't Take a Summer Vacation

3 Time-Off Ideas When You Can't Take a Summer Vacation

Posted in executive director / vacation / staff team

For some non-profits, summer is the busy season, and it isn’t possible to be away. If that sounds like your work world, let’s talk about other ways to take time off. When can you start using vacation time? Think back to when you first started working at your non-profit. Did you have to wait...


Don’t Let Guilt Ruin Your Holiday

Don’t Let Guilt Ruin Your Holiday

Posted in executive director / vacation / staff team

Working as an executive director, we all share a desire to do the job well, and we put in the long hours to make it happen. When the time comes to take holidays, feelings of guilt for being away from the office take over. The indecision about taking this week or next week, can delay vacation...


Employee Files: Why Privacy Matters

Employee Files: Why Privacy Matters

Posted in office operations / filing / staff team

Your non-profit likely has a privacy policy. If your non-profit has a website, you for sure have a privacy policy. The policy likely talks about how you will collect and store information about your customers, clients, and maybe stakeholders. But have you thought about a version of a privacy...


Let the employee do most of the talking at the annual performance review

Let the employee do most of the talking at the annual performance review

Posted in executive director / staff team

The report card style annual performance review has become an obsolete process. Gone are the days of saving up all the failings of your employees and presenting it to them at year end, along with a few positives just to cut the sting. Still, there is a responsibility as an employer to identify...


Non-profits don’t have a top dog

Non-profits don’t have a top dog

Non-profits have different structures and different groups of people who handle different tasks. It can be difficult to tell who’s the boss from one organization to another. Some will have no employees, and some will have many. Some will have a governance board, and some will have an...


How to Draw Out Challenges Weighing On Your Team

How to Draw Out Challenges Weighing On Your Team

Posted in executive director / staff team / staff meeting

A typical staff meeting can feel very productive, have a great conversation, but still not reveal the stressors a team is facing. The reluctance to speak up can vary with reasons from being unsure if a topic is appropriate, to feeling it won’t matter. But is does matter because a healthy staff...


First 30 Days for a New Non-Profit Executive Director

First 30 Days for a New Non-Profit Executive Director

Posted in job description / executive director / staff team

Whether it’s a first job as an executive director or a first day at a new non-profit, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. That’s because the 4 key areas of a non-profit executive director’s job are massive. Those 4 areas are: governance/board support and policy management; making sure...


3 Steps to Get Ready for Holiday Office Closure

3 Steps to Get Ready for Holiday Office Closure

Posted in office operations / vacation / staff team

The holidays are right around the corner and taking time off from work can provide a much-needed break. Whether a non-profit closes for one week, two weeks, or a set number of days, a holiday office closure isn’t a simple weekend, with everyone back at their desks on Monday. The longer time...


Offices are Closed for TWO Weeks

Offices are Closed for TWO Weeks

Posted in executive director / vacation / staff team

Non-profits are not typically wealthy organizations. No matter how many grant applications are approved, or donations are received, those funds are used primarily for fulfilling the vision and mission of the organization. That sometimes translates into paying salaries that are not quite as high...


Take the Guess Work Out of Non-Profit Gift Giving

Take the Guess Work Out of Non-Profit Gift Giving

Posted in policy / staff team

Here and there throughout the operating year, a non-profit will give different kinds of gifts. It might be a gift when an employee reaches a work milestone. It might be a gift to thank a summer student. It might be a farewell gift for a departing board member. There is nothing like the...


How to Write a Job Description

How to Write a Job Description

Posted in job description / executive director / staff team

A clear job description is an important part of every position. Potential employees want a clear picture of the position before applying, to be sure the job is the right fit for them. Current employees want a clear picture of the work they’ve been hired to complete. Employers need a place...


Is a Time Sheet Needed for a Salaried Employee?

Is a Time Sheet Needed for a Salaried Employee?

Posted in office operations / executive director / staff team

Its easy to think time sheets are only for hourly employees that work a shift, no more, no less. Salaried employees often have an unwritten expectation to ‘just get the job done’ no matter how long it takes. But that’s a system that favours the employer and can quickly burn out an employee. If...


How to debrief, well, …anything

How to debrief, well, …anything

In the heat of the moment, everyone has a comment (or 15) about the workshop/event/meeting they are experiencing (usually about the bad coffee). A week later, at the official debriefing meeting, the comments have dried up and no one really has anything to share. Don’t waste an opportunity for...


Why a Letter of Employment is Needed Each Year

Why a Letter of Employment is Needed Each Year

Posted in staff team

If your non-profit has employees, whether full-time, part-time, or casual, the nuances of the work arrangement will shift from year to year. It is easy to think the initial Offer of Employment letter will capture enough details for the entire term of employment, but reality tells us that’s just...


How a Non-Profit Can Hire the RIGHT First Employee

How a Non-Profit Can Hire the RIGHT First Employee

Posted in hiring / staff team

As a smaller non-profit grows, volunteers take on more and more of the operational tasks. What might have started as a couple dozen people hosting a few fundraising events each year or taking turns to open the park gates and collect the garbage, quickly turns into volunteer burnout and a...


Back to Work After the Holidays Without the Overwhelm

Back to Work After the Holidays Without the Overwhelm

Posted in vacation / staff team

The holidays are over. If you haven’t returned to the usual work week, that will likely be happening very soon. Its no fun when the holidays come to an end. Navigating those first few days back after a holiday can be a little depressing and a lot overwhelming, with all the paperwork, emails,...


Snow Day

Snow Day

Posted in emergency / staff team

We are in the middle of a big windstorm as I write this. I understand the wind will bring a blizzard overnight. I’m doing my best to try not to think about power outages, no heat, no internet, and all the panels the wind is ripping off my patio cover. The flickering lights and the on/off...


I’m Sorry, John Doesn’t Work Here

I’m Sorry, John Doesn’t Work Here

Posted in staff team / stakeholders

This is the season when most non-profits will begin to think about strategic planning for the new year. One of the key components in any strat plan is a review of what’s going on with stakeholders. But we spend so much time staying in touch, monitoring trends and needs, that we can often forget...


Orientation Plan

Orientation Plan

Posted in hiring / staff team

I started a new (virtual) employee this summer and because it was a very busy time, I created a very detailed orientation plan. It was very successful, and I thought I would share with you how I structured that plan. We are a virtual team so everything we do is handled by distance. But it...