Employee professional development – a right for staff, not a privilege

PDHaving worked and consulted with hundreds and hundreds of non-profit organisations worldwide, one of the biggest challenges I have witnessed is staff turnover. In some organisations, staff turnover in a year might amount to 40%+. This is a problem not just in non-profit organisations, but with suppliers in our market as well.

Why might staff leave your organisation? Most staff leave because of 1 (or more) of these 5 reasons:

  1. More attractive opportunities elsewhere
  2. Poor recognition
  3. Increased compensation
  4. Poor management/management changes
  5. Lack of investment in staff professional development

Investing in your staff will pay multiple dividends. Investing in the professional development of staff will increase staff retention and do so much more, in return, for your organisation.

Some managers suggest investing in staff carries too high a risk because those staff may leave anyway. So, why pay for conferences, courses or memberships in professional organisations if the staff may not be with your organisation for the long-term?

As managers, we need to provide professional development for our staff. Professional development is a right for staff, not a privilege.

Where do you turn to come up with professional development investment opportunities for your staff? Sometimes the answer is right in front of us. In this case the answer is in our own backyard.

Fundraising Institute Australia has a wide variety of professional development opportunities, including those in early, intermediate, and advanced career. Consider Essentials for Fundraisers, Certificate in Fundraising, Fundraising Management Diploma, and Executive Fundraising Leadership. Look at the FIA short courses, including Copywriting for Fundraisers, Creative for Fundraisers, Database Analytics for Fundraisers, and more. Additionally, offer staff the opportunity to look at attending the FIA Conference, scheduled for 18-20 February in Brisbane. Allow staff to get involved in FIA in your state and to attend their monthly meetings. Encourage staff to get involved as a mentee in the FIA mentoring program.

FIA offers a host of opportunities at your fingertips, yet these opportunities require managers to actively encourage their staff to participate. Staff should feel welcome to take advantage of these opportunities. Managers need to open the door to FIA membership, FIA education courses, and the FIA Conference. Push staff to get involved in their profession as a volunteer. Doing so will strengthen your organisation, strengthen the fundraising profession, and foster growth in the individual staff. Doing so, may very well be one of your top staff retention strategies for the year.