Imagine this: you are an executive coach and have just been hired to work with a non-profit organization. You examine the flowchart, and everything looks good until you get to the program department…
There are 20 people in the department… and only one person dedicated to administrative support!
What might you hear from your client? I’ll give you a few options:
A) “No flag here for me. That’s how it works today. With all the new technology, everyone can manage their own scheduling and emails.
b) “My board members come largely from the private sector, and they talk about having their own assistant. And they tell me they know that’s not how it works in nonprofits.
vs) “I presented a budget to my board with additional administrative support, and that was the first thing to cut when the board saw the increased spending that came with it.”
d) “I know my staff need more support, but I really need to keep the overhead low so I only hire people from the program because that’s what the funders cover.
e) “We are all terribly overworked because we spend too much time on administrative support and not enough time doing the job we were hired to do. attrition, but I’m stuck because of attitudes (a) through (d).
This is a common problem in the nonprofit world. And one organization I worked with found out the hard way how badly it affected their staff. We conducted a senior team time study, and the results were astounding.
They spent TONS of time on paperwork! And not enough time to use their talents and skills to advance the organization’s mission. They were exhausted and it affected the whole team.
The organization was partly skeptical and partly panicked when it learned of the results: “Do I have to justify my position? My value ? Are we downsizing? »
But the answer was surprisingly clear: they urgently needed to invest in more administrative support.
Slowly but surely, each member of the team was set up for success. It was a small change, but it made a big difference. And that’s the power of investing in your people and ensuring they have the support they need to thrive.
SO HOW CAN YOU ACHIEVE THIS IN YOUR BUSINESS?
Don’t worry, it won’t cost you a lot of money to make this pitch. You can start with a book.
A few weeks ago my partner and I read a book called Redeem your time by Dan Martell. Like most business books, the premise is simple. But unlike most business books, this one contains key strategies that could literally be a game-changer for you when you think about it. how to build your team and allow your team to perform at their best.
Dan’s calculations work like this: take your annual salary and divide it by 2,000 hours (a rough estimate of how many hours you work per year). This number represents one hour’s worth of your time.
Your goal is to ensure that for as many hours as possible, you will perform work worthy of that hourly rate. I guarantee you will think about it and realize very quickly that many of the activities you engage in are not worth that amount per hour.
“OK I understand. And now, Joan?“
Well, don’t ask me. Let’s see what Dan says. Dan says if you can hire someone to do these tasks for 25% of your hourly rate, you should be doing it all day, every day.
Because you are essentially redeeming your time. You pay people to do the lower value tasks so you can spend your time on the higher value tasks. To do the genius work your board wants you to do, your customers want you to do, your community wants you to do.
AND let’s not forget. When people do higher value work, guess what? They feel more valued, more energetic. They have more impact, and they can see it. And you can draw a straight line between that and retention. Easily.
I see it all the time. The way we talk about something, the messages we use, make all the difference.
Often, CEOs go to their boardrooms and announce that they are drowning in low-level tasks. Boards hear this, especially when wondering why X isn’t done or hasn’t moved forward. Then the EDs add this. “I don’t have time to do everything on my plate; how can i add more? » Boards hear this as moans.
What if we cropped?
Show them the data. If I redeemed this number of hours in a month, here are the projects or initiatives that I could undertake. And, oh, by the way, you’re all paying me too much to do the kind of tasks highlighted here.
It’s time to reframe from “I do not have time” For “Look at what it would be possible for me to do if I outsourced/hired a part-time employee. »
There’s a huge difference in how each of these lands – with finance committees and boards in general.
You must try. You are (and it’s a weird thing to say in the nonprofit space) most likely overpaid for more than half of the tasks you perform each week.
I paid a lot of attention to how I spend my time; I actually did a time study for two weeks and highlighted in red the tasks that could be outsourced to a part time admin or that I could outsource for 25% of how I could calculate my own rate actual schedule.
It was enlightening, and I encourage you to try it too.
Want to learn from a growing community of nonprofit leaders and get exclusive access to content from diverse experts? Click here to learn more about the Nonprofit Leadership Lab.