ahead. Anita Buckmaster, who
works as the operations manager at the New Haven Preservation Trust, in Connecticut,
would like to find a job that pays
a higher salary–someday.
“If the economy were better
and there were more jobs out
there, I’d start looking. Everybody always looks,” says Ms.
A Brighter Future?
While the Chronicle
survey points to persistent gloom
among charity workers, some
signs of improvement are on the
More than half of workers reported that they have received a
pay increase in the past year.
Just 11 percent of charity
workers said that their pay had
been cut since 2008, a sign that
perhaps the worst of the damage done by the economic downturn is in the past.
And sometimes a little dissatisfaction can be a good thing,
suggests Ms. Masaoka, who
says that having happy, satisfied workers doesn’t necessarily
equal effective work.
If a charity has 100 employees and they’re all very happy,
she suggests, it might be a sign
that supervision isn’t tough
“Having 100 out of 100 people
feeling happy about their jobs
shouldn’t be the goal,” she says.
“Effective work should be the
But in a time when nonprof-
it workers are asked to do more
with less, some managers say
that compassionate leadership
can make a difference in work-
ers’ satisfaction and commit-
COURTESY OF KABOOM
KaBoom, which builds playgrounds, threads its playful mission through its
organizational culture, including this office play space for workers.
A Focus on Fun Keeps a Charity Booming
Organization: KaBoom (Washington)
Number of employees: 80
The group’s approach: KaBoom works
hard to create a playful organizational culture—think monthly peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich days and an annual Pumpkin
Palooza at Halloween—both as a reflection of
its mission to promote playground building
and as a way to build camaraderie across the
nonprofit and motivate employees. At
the start of each year, the charity holds
its Play Academy, a three-day retreat that
brings employees from the group’s three offices together for learning, planning, and
departments and locations the opportunity to
build relationships they can draw on in their
work, and it gives senior managers a chance
to discuss new projects with the full staff,
says Kerryn Kent, a director at KaBoom:
“It’s setting the tone for the year.”
Noelle Barton, Heather Joslyn, Marisa López-Rivera, and
Nicole Wallace contributed to
Why: The event gives employees in different
Results: Bringing everyone in the organization together to talk about its work inspires
employees and helps them understand how
their jobs contribute to the larger mission,
says Ms. Kent. “Someone may not be out
in the field building the playgrounds or out
having conversations with our funding partners,” she says, “but it’s important for everyone to know that even their role has impact
on that conversation and on that playground
build.” —NICOLE WALLACE
ARE YOU DRIVING MEANINGFUL CHANGE IN YOUR NONPROFIT?
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