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Enhance Nonprofit Employee Retention with Total Rewards

These are the steps to set up your total rewards approach, as outlined below.

  1. Gauge your current Total Rewards status. When planning your Total Rewards approach, it’s crucial to have a baseline so you know how to grow. Your best resource for this step is your nonprofit’s policy book—review it and take note of your current compensation practices. 
  2. Collect employee feedback. Once you understand your current standing regarding compensation, you can start brainstorming new additions that contribute to total rewards. But, this process shouldn’t happen in a vacuum. Encourage employees to provide suggestions of what kinds of programs they want to be added, as they’ll be the ones benefiting from the changes. Remember to have employees explain their rationale and follow up if you have questions. 
  3. Review the suggestions with leadership and respond to feedback. Your nonprofit’s leadership team should carefully consider the feasibility of each suggestion and pick a final slate of proposed changes. Then, you can bring the results back to your employees and have them vote on their favorites. Ensure you provide your reasoning for why you accepted or rejected each recommendation to boost transparency.
  4. Roll out the changes. Whether you’re instituting a new employee gift program or adding extra paid time off, you need to outline the changes in your employee handbook and workplace policy book. Remember to time the rollout correctly so you can get your financial information in order. Keep your employees informed throughout the rollout so they know when new rewards will be available.
  5. Continually gauge your total reward program’s effectiveness. Your leadership team’s work isn’t finished once the rewards are fully implemented. For the first year after the rollout, send out regular surveys so employees can provide feedback on the changes. If you find that employee engagement isn’t improving or that your programs aren’t financially efficient, you should rethink your strategy. After the one-year mark, continue tracking the program’s impact via employee performance, current trends, and your nonprofit’s financial situation, and make adjustments accordingly. 

Total Rewards will look different for every nonprofit based on its size, employee demographics, and current priorities. So, you can keep up with current trends to see if any new elements can be added but don’t feel the need to copy other nonprofits’ strategies. Just remember to reward your employees for their hard work while ensuring you maintain adequate resources for your beneficiaries, and everyone will benefit from your strategy.


While moving from a traditional compensation structure to a Total Rewards strategy can seem like an overwhelming task, the benefits to your employees and organization are great – and you do not have to take this on alone. Consider seeking outside support from HR and Compensation experts. With a Total Rewards program in place that mirrors both your organization’s and your employee’s needs, your employees are more likely to be satisfied and your retention rates likely to improve.

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