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Losing our edge: What could the for-profit’s sectors purpose benefit mean for the nonprofit workforce?

By Bryan Orander, president, Charitable Advisors  

If you have been part of the nonprofit sector for more than a few years, you have been in conversations about the natural advantage that nonprofits have in attracting purpose-driven staff and volunteers.

In fact, nonprofit board and staff leaders often view this “purpose benefit” as a trade-off to higher compensation.

The blurring of the boundaries between nonprofits and businesses around service delivery has been happening for years with businesses entering niches to deliver government funded services and nonprofits starting businesses or social enterprises to create new funding streams.

A more recent trend is the increased focus that businesses have taken to make the world a better place.

While a cynic can note that some of these declarations and initiatives seem more like engagement and recruiting strategies targeting younger employees, there are also businesses that are taking their roles in contributing to the community seriously, even building their business models around “giving back.”

And what effect might that have on nonprofits? What does it mean if purpose-driven employees can feel they are making a difference by working for a business? Does a business have more to offer in compensation, current technology and career advancement?

As we wrap up the Central Indiana Salary Survey and post to our website on Sept, 5, attracting and retaining quality staff are high on every leaders’ agenda. In a strong economy, where most employees have more options, it is critical that every nonprofit is intentional about connecting employees to its mission, ensuring they feel a sense of accomplishment, and that managers and supervisors are equipped and empowered to create a great workplace.

Learn more about hiring and retention in nonprofits.


Bryan Orander is founder and president of Charitable Advisors. After 18 years of for-profit leadership in the Fortune 50 business world and a disability-related nonprofit, Bryan joined a large regional accounting and consulting firm. In 2000, he founded Charitable Advisors with the vision of going beyond traditional consulting to become a connector, advocate and problem solver for the nonprofit sector.

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