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Nonprofits: Put an end to "Seat-of-Your-Pants" HR!

(posted: April 18th, 2014)

As a nonprofit organization, you've got a clear vision and mission. Your cause is what drives you, and your employees are there because they believe in it. You are likely much more passionate about what you are doing than how you go about it, and besides, you're working on a shoestring. You don't have the time to think about human resources management, or the money to hire a dedicated HR professional, and anyway, you can just use your best judgment when an HR issue comes up...Can't you?

Nonprofits Need HR Too

In 2013, TechSoup, the nonprofit that connects other nonprofits, charities, and public libraries with tech products and services, conducted a survey of their community.

Nonprofits: Put an end to "Seat-of-Your-Pants" HR!

The results showed an "HR service option" to be one of the top 5 most requested add-on services. In a separate 'a-ha' moment, they found many nonprofits rely on passive guidance from a Board Member or an associate of the organization for help when HR issues do come up.

Given the strong demand for HR expertise across the nonprofit community, TechSoup formed an alliance with HR Solutions Partners to provide professional advice and support to our members.

5 Quick HR Tips for Nonprofits

  1. Know your HR limits
    Be honest with yourself and your team about how much you really know about HR. Understand where you are okay on your own, and where you need some guidance, like legal compliance.
  2. "Common Sense" HR
    As a nonprofit manager, you've probably got more common sense than your average manager at a for-profit company - you've had to develop it over the years, and it's served you well. However, there are regulations and laws related to human resources that you may not know about, so it's wise to be prepared to ask for HR help.
  3. Communicate To Prevent HR Issues
    Yes, you and your employees are busy doing important work, and sometimes talking about things feels like it's wasting precious time, but clear, regular communication is like gold. Keeping your staff in the loop and listening when they need to talk can prevent many employee issues before they even start. Make the time to communicate with your employees and volunteers frequently.
  4. HR Help from the Board
    Getting HR advice from members of your Board of Directors is a logical first choice for a nonprofit manager. Keep in mind, though, that HR is a complicated, ever-changing field. If your chosen board member is not currently an HR professional, his or her knowledge may be out-of-date, or limited.
  5. You Are Not Alone - TechSoup Can Help
    A piece of expert advice can save you significant time and money.

Through the TechSoup and HR Solutions donation program, you now have an expert HR resource at your fingertips. This dedicated human resources help desk can assist you with any questions you have or issues you face, from decisions on policies and procedures, to performance management and termination questions, to legal compliance and harassment issues.

The seat-of-your-pants approach is a time-honored methodology for nonprofits, but the last thing you need is to get tangled up in HR issues.

Our "HR on-demand" option is a great way to split the difference: You don't have to hire an HR specialist, but you don't have to wing it, either. Do you have a need now or think you might soon?

Please note that this service is only available through TechSoup. Find the complete details here.

Join the Discussion

  • How have you handled HR in your organization without a dedicated staff?
  • What kind of employee issues have you had to deal with? How did you resolve them?
  • What issues are you most likely to call the HR Help Desk about?

This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog

Images licensed from: 123rf

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