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Podcast | Industry Trend: How the State of the Modern Workforce is Changing Fundraising

Have you changed jobs recently in exchange for more flexibility, pay, or upward advancement? If so, you're not alone. The Covid-19 pandemic sparked a “Great Resignation,” spurring workers to take stock of their priorities and leading many people to leave jobs and demand better work-life balance through options like remote work. 

On the podcast, we spoke about how nonprofits can navigate this new work climate with Larissa Stoddart. She is the founder of Growth & Co., a Canadian fundraising coaching firm that helps charity fundraisers learn the best ways to raise money and build the infrastructure they need for long-term success.

The Great Resignation and the new culture of work

The global pandemic changed how we live, play, and work in myriad ways. Many people are taking stock of their lives and rethinking their relationships with their employees. The Great Resignation represents all the reasons that employers see significant changes in how their past, present, and future employees approach work. Those who have taken part in this mass exodus have different reasons for making changes. 

A 2022 Pew Research study found that the top reason that U.S. workers were leaving jobs behind was, unsurprisingly, low pay. Workers found other reasons to be influential, like: 

  • Lack of advancement opportunities, 
  • Not feeling respected or adequately valued
  • Child care issues
  • Elder care concerns 

As older baby boomers are moving into their golden years and requiring more long-term care, younger boomers and Gen Xers are taking on more of this work. This challenge is compounded because the community care sector (e.g., nursing homes, women’s shelters, and child care providers) is also having a lot of problems with staffing. For a deeper dive, check out the full episode of the podcast. 

A need for wage parity

The main reason for people leaving nonprofit positions is low pay. In the episode, Larissa referenced a recent report by the Ontario Nonprofit Network called “Creating Wage Parity and Community Care” that addressed this issue. In the Great Resignation, nonprofit workers are leaving at higher rates, particularly in the home and community care organizations, including child care, disability services, and elder care services. This sector has a whopping 18% open job rate. 

Can nonprofit CEOs help?

According to Stoddart, it has become evident that the relationship between a charity’s Executive Director or CEO and its fundraising staff is paramount for organizational success. Given the shrinking pool of available talent, there’s a lot that leadership can do to prevent fundraiser burnout, increase job retention, and foster employee loyalty. 

A few of the top ways nonprofit leaders can support their frontline staff are: 

  • Mapping out a clear path for growth based on goals and desired performance
  • Providing valuable training and professional development opportunities
  • Get creative with hiring by bringing in inexperienced fundraisers with strong transferable skills (e.g., a solid sales or banking background)

Managing donor perception of operational costs

Fundraisers know all too well that donors have a preference for seeing their dollars go only toward mission-critical work. What are some ways organizations, even within their case for support, can communicate the importance and impact of investing in the organization’s operations?

In the podcast, we talk about clever strategies leaders may use to talk to their donors about the vital importance of donations to help with operations. By thoughtfully communicating how organizations are investing in their future ability to serve and building the capacity to do more mission-focused work, nonprofits can take control of the narrative and inspire more donors to consider the importance of operation costs. 

Check out the full episode today to hear more analysis and proposed solutions to this all-to-common industry challenge.


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