Management in the Not for Profit Organization

Dedicated to Exploring the Philosophies and Techniques of Management in the Non-Profit Sector

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Brain Drain?


An organization has been losing its best staff members.  The individuals who departed cited higher pay as the primary reason that they chose to take a new job. 


In order to raise the level of pay, managers exhort staff to take on more work.  That is, they admit more clients or accept more assignments without a corresponding increase in the number of staff.  Thus, income rises.  This increased funding is targeted to higher salaries, but the raises cannot be implemented until the next fiscal year (or, the amount of increases actually available for salaries is smaller than hoped after other increased census/tasking/overhead costs are considered).


Soon, staff are overheard to complain about the workload.  Absences from work due to illness increase.  The remaining staff members assume even more work.  Before long, customers are complaining about poor service which they attribute to insufficient staffing.  Most often, these complaints and anger are directed to management because it is apparent that the front line staff have little control over the situation.


The result is a decrease in demand for the organization’s products.


This is a sequence of events which has been repeated by many industries, profit and not-for-profit alike.

1. Where did they go wrong?

2. What method of intervention would you utilize at each stage of the decline?

3. How would you treat a non-profit in this situation differently than a for-profit?