Finding, attracting and retaining talent are challenges across all organizations, whether it be in the private or nonprofit sector. It often seems like businesses in the private sector can afford more in the hiring and retention process, from being able to enlist the help of recruiters to creating specialized human resources programs that focus on staff development and professional advancement.

But nonprofits don’t always have these luxuries, because, really, forget a human resources department—many organizations lack even one human resources staff person to handle basic organizational responsibilities, let alone having the resources to expend for training and job enrichment programs for staff.

Our CEO here at OneOC always makes a point about “nonprofit” not being a business model, but a tax status. This means that nonprofits should be mirroring our corporate counterparts’ basic business principles, which includes their strategies in recruiting and retaining staff, like ensuring that employees continue to grow and progress professionally through staff development programs or external trainings.

A staff member that feels unfulfilled will leave his or her organization, and losing a good employee means that the organization not only incurs more costs through rehiring, but also loses valuable talent.

When organizations invest in their staff’s professional development, the return on investment is tremendous. Employees gain skills, feel more confident, and are able to apply their newfound knowledge to impact their nonprofit. And of course, professional development for employees leads to higher staff retention rates for organizations. It’s a win for everybody.

Yet according to the 2013 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey, over a third of the respondents “felt strongly that…their organization does not take an interest in their career development.” More nonprofits need to realize the value and power of investing in their staff.

There are plenty of free and worthwhile online educational resources available for nonprofit professionals. Try encouraging your staff to check out sites like or for hundreds of webinar training sessions covering topics specifically tailored to the nonprofit sector, ranging from fundraising to IT help. Individuals can “attend” these webinars from the comfort of their own desk, so there’s no excuse for not exploring these valuable resources.

Don't forget that every year, OneOC holds nearly 150 sector-specific trainings right here at our offices in Santa Ana. With topics ranging from Volunteer Management, Fundraising, Program Operations, Finance, Leadership and Board Excellence, our classes have something for just about any nonprofit or aspiring nonprofit professional. The 2,624 nonprofit board members, executives, staff and volunteers that attended our classes in 2013 can’t be wrong.

To explore our classes and learn more about how OneOC’s trainings can help you or your staff advance your nonprofit career, visit our Training page.

Post a comment

Please correct the following: