Nonprofit Managers, Staff Staying Put

September 20, 2018       Paul Clolery      

Three out of four nonprofit employees and eight in 10 managers choose to work at their organizations — and stay there for years — because they’re committed to making a difference in people’s lives.

The Nonprofit Survey was conducted as part of TIAA’s 100-year anniversary and the TIAA Difference Maker 100 program. Results also show that nonprofit employees and managers are nearly twice as likely to feel that success is defined not by compensation (33 percent and 32 percent) but by helping others, their community or society (71 percent and 77 percent).

According to the survey results, managers believe an organization’s values and mission (76 percent) and its ability to offer interesting and satisfying work (64 percent) are two big advantages nonprofits have compared to for-profit companies. Fulfilling and interesting work may be one reason employees build long careers in the nonprofit sector.

The survey finds:

• A majority of employees and managers — 65 percent and 74 percent respectfully — have worked in the nonprofit sector for six or more years, with more than half reporting that they’ve been at their present employer for six years or longer. This is nearly two years longer than the median tenure for employees across all industries (4.2 years), according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

• More than two-thirds of managers who have been in the sector for six to 10 years think nonprofits do a better job promoting diversity in the workforce than for-profit companies.

• A striking 73 percent of millennial managers in the sector think nonprofits are better at creating interesting and satisfying jobs than for-profits, a finding that may resonate with individuals who are looking to create an impact while earning a paycheck.

• Three fourths of employees and 82 percent of managers at nonprofits say they continue to work at their nonprofit organizations because they want to make a difference in other people’s lives.

• This spirit resonates throughout generations: 76 percent of millennial managers choose to work at nonprofits because they want to create real change in their communities, while 78 percent of baby boomer employees say the values and mission of the organization is important in choosing to work for a nonprofit.

• This commitment also continues for many people into retirement: Among nonprofit managers, 56 percent plan to volunteer more of their time to a good cause, 42 percent plan to contribute to the work their nonprofit is focused on, and 36 percent plan to contribute to charities they are passionate about.

Among managers who have worked in the nonprofit sector for 11 or more years, 61 percent plan to volunteer more time to a cause during their retirement. For more information about the TIAA 2018 Nonprofit Survey, read the executive summary.

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