In the nonprofit world, salary is always a touchy subject. For a variety of reasons we all know too well, there are rarely enough resources to pay people on par with the for-profit world. We also see a very stark trade off between compensation and mission. All too often, I’ve seen nonprofit leaders weigh providing more or better service to families versus increasing compensation for their staff.
Contractors are everywhere in the nonprofit world. When I started working with nonprofit organizations in 1993, almost everyone was an employee, except for the all- too-rare consultants.
Now, it’s hard to find an organization of any size without contractors. They’re not only consultants, but also others who usually bring very specialized skills.
Years ago, I faced a thorny work issue involving a client, and I needed advice. So, I sought the counsel of two other CEOs leading similar organizations. At first, I asked their opinion separately; they both had good questions for me and pushed my thinking. They also had questions of their own—some of which I could help with, but others lay outside my bailiwick. I quickly realized that if the two of them could interact, I could get even better advice for my problem, and knowing their strengths, they could help each other with the problems they were facing as well.
We hear a lot about intellectual property (affectionately called IP) in every sector. I almost wrote “except the nonprofit sector,” but that’s no longer the case. In the past two to three years, it’s beginning to pop up more and more—as a recognition of the valuable ideas, services, and concepts that mission-driven organizations are generating across the US and the world.