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In the beginning, staff is often voluntary. But as the organization grows, the day to day needs grow as well.

Bringing on Senior Management

Executive Directors and Compensation:

An essential aspect of bringing on board members and senior management is figuring out compensation. Along with the arduous task of developing good leadership with an Executive Director, organizations also have to navigate how much to offer them. There are a variety of suggestions, but it is always best to base it on the size, type, and resources of the particular organization.

States quite often have guidelines for the percentages and ranges you should offer, and it is good to keep in mind that different locations can have quite different expectations (20-25% higher in New York is a good example). A good rule of thumb is 10% - 12% of the organizational budget when you are in the 600K and above range. Organizations with smaller budgets will need to maintain a baseline salary that attracts the right talent and is regionally appropriate.

There is also a free downloadable program for making this sort of analysis. It can be found here.

Staff Benefits

Many organizations wish to give their staff benefits in addition to salaries, such as health care. These plans can range from simply covering the employees to their entire families. (For those who opt out of the healthcare plan to go through their spouses, they've negotiated a pay raise or another benefit.) Other groups often give stipends in order to help people buy health care on their own. We offer health plan access to our employees at their own expense, with a small stipend from us to offset the cost ($200/month for full-time employees, rises to $400/month after five years of service).

There are many organizations that provide health care to non-profits, and often take care of things such as withholdings and government reporting. These include, but are not limited to:

Another method is to join a bureau of small businesses, which group workers from different businesses together in order to increase the risk pool and get fairer prices.

Purchasing Equipment

Depending on the position a staff member holds, they may be in need of a computer or other equipment to effectively execute the duties of their job. With any type of equipment purchase, it is important to specify whether or not the staff member will need to return the equipment once his or her project or assignment has been completed. One way organizations have dealt with this issue is by tagging the newly purchased laptop with a barcode, and explicitly stating in writing that the laptop is the property of the organization. Some other examples of how handle the logistics of purchasing equipment for a staff member can be found below.

Jim Moore


“While the hardware has value, a 2-year-old laptop is halfway to being an antique.

Furthermore, if a volunteer commits to using a device, it is likely that the person will commit to using it lock, stock, and barrel. This means that it will be full of “personal” information as well as “company” business. Otherwise the volunteer is saddled with an extra device. Imagine being forced to carry two cell phones. Now imagine two laptops.

A computer is fully depreciated after 3 years, so, if the volunteer uses it for 2 years, its current value is only 1/3 of the purchase price. If you paid $800 for it, after 2 years, it’s worth $267, and you know you could not possibly sell it for that. If the person used it as described, $267/year for those services is a bargain.

If equipment must be returned to the organization, a possible solution is to inventory these items (Brand, Model, Serial Number, Software Titles and Codes as installed, Accessories, etc.), and get a signed agreement that the device (described with that specific info) belongs to the organization and must be returned. I suggest a clause in the agreement be included that states that unreturned items will be considered compensation to the person – at full purchase price, including all installed software – and that said compensation will be declared to the IRS in the form of a 1099-MISC. Get the person’s SS# on the agreement. Avoiding the tax burden on the device/software should give you lots of leverage to get the device back. If you take that tactic, remember to declare that compensation to a DIRECTOR in your 990.”

Job Postings

Finding qualified staff and building a positive staff community is absolutely vital to the success of any organization. Here are some places where organizations have had success:

A non-profit organization that will post jobs for $80.

You can post a short job description on our Community Job Board. Nonprofits can post a job for only $25 a month. For-profit companies can post for $50 a month.


Many organizations will give out end-of-the-year bonuses to their staff. This is generally quite appreciated by staff members, and provides a nice dose of goodwill around the holidays. Since staff members at non-profits will often work for less than their counterparts in private industry, not to mention that staff members work very hard in general, it is beneficial to show them that all the hard work they put in throughout the year is appreciated.

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