Remaining Agile in the Age of Constant Change

By | HR, Nonprofit | No Comments
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“Agile” is a loaded term. Some use it to mean the agile development methodology exemplified in the book Scrum, a method of project management that focuses on short, time-bound deliverables. Other people use the term with its common meaning in mind: that of being flexible, adaptable, and responsive to change.

The global pandemic tested most nonprofit organizations’ tolerance for change. We are indeed in the age of agile, given the true meaning of the word: the ability to adapt quickly and moderate behavior based on the circumstances at hand.

How does an organization remain flexible? How can you improve your organization’s ability to respond with speed, efficiency, and grace to ever-changing circumstances? Here are the main traits to focus on when hiring and managing a nonprofit in today’s crazy business climate.

Hire Right—Look for a Cultural Fit

Hiring right—that is, finding the right personnel fit for an open position—is the real secret to remaining agile. That’s because it takes a certain personality to stay open minded and tolerate the continuous uncertainty around business conditions.

Hiring “right,” however, depends upon the organization itself. The right person isn’t just highly qualified for the role to which they are applying; they should be a great fit for the organization’s culture.

Consider this when interviewing applicants. It may be a good idea to have team reviews and interviews with applicants to ensure a cultural fit. For example, if you are hiring someone to lead accounts payable, schedule either a group meeting with the entire accounting team or one-to-one meetings with key accounting personnel. Ask employees afterwards their thoughts on the applicant. Did they seem to click with the team? If so, they may indeed be the right fit for the organization.

When you have people who are a good cultural fit for your nonprofit, they will work easily with the entire group. They likely share similar behaviors and characteristics that will help them adapt to change.

Establish Goals and Priorities

Another way to ensure that your organization is adept at responding to changing conditions is to establish clear goals and priorities. It may seem like a contradiction that having clear, set goals or fixed priorities would support an agile response, but it’s true. The reason is simple: if you establish the goal, but leave the way to the goal open, people can work towards the goal on their own. The external conditions may change, but the goal remains the same, and they can adapt and flex to respond to changing circumstances without losing sight of the objectives.

Accept Change—and Be Open to It

Organizations that accept change as a given in the marketplace are better able to adapt and respond to it. It is the organizations that insist upon enacting their established plans or methodologies regardless of the current circumstances which find themselves struggling.

Being open to change doesn’t mean changing goals and objectives (see the previous paragraph) but it does mean accepting that if something blocks a particular path, there are ways around the block. For example, organizations that depended upon live or in-person events as their big fundraiser for the year found themselves faced with an unforeseen challenge at the height of the pandemic.

Nonprofits and charities that were able to move live galas and events online, adding new features to the event, found themselves with higher donations thanks to the ability to reach a larger audience. Those who simply canceled events, hoping for the best, found themselves left out of the newfound world of virtual events.

Stay Curious

“Stay curious” simply means being open to exploring new ideas as they arise. Instead of remaining fixed on what worked in the past for the organization, employees who remain open and curious about their work are also able to adapt to change more easily. Curiosity feeds exploration, which in turn may open new avenues for creatively meeting challenges and changes head-on.

Change Isn’t Going Away

If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that change really doesn’t go away. Even though our work may appear to be the same day in and out, nothing stays the same. Hiring the right employees who fit well with the culture, focusing on goals rather than process, an openness to change, and remaining curious about solutions are all the right steps to an agile nonprofit organization.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

3 Hiring Tips During Times of Candidate Shortage

By | HR, Nonprofit | No Comments
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The so-called “great resignation” has hit all businesses hard, but for the nonprofit sector, it has been an especially trying time. Nonprofit organizations, which typically pay slightly less than their for-profit counterparts, often struggle to attract the best and brightest candidates to their organizations. Add on to this the decrease in funding sources and potentially shrinking budgets, and you have a staffing emergency that can change into a crisis.

With for-profit companies offering everything from higher wages to hiring bonuses, nonprofits may need to tap into their creativity to build attractive packages for potential employees. But how? Here are three tips to help your nonprofit hire successfully during times of candidate shortage.

  1. Study the Market and Build a Compensation Model

First, thoroughly understand the job market as it stands now, and in relation to the openings at your nonprofit. Consider both the local market and a broader market. With telecommuting becoming the norm, you can broaden your hiring options to fill a challenging vacancy by making the position fully remote.

Include a compensation model in this study, evaluating the appropriate compensation for the position, and comparing that to the current market average for similar candidates, at least biannually.

  1. Compete for Candidates Based on Your Organization’s Strengths

Let’s face it—your nonprofit may be unlikely to have perks like an onsite gym or childcare, but maybe it has other perks. Does it offer benefits unique to its mission that would attract just the right candidate?

A nonprofit animal charity may allow pets in the office, which may be a huge benefit for some. Other organizations may have a very relaxed policy towards bringing children to work, which would appeal to some candidates.

Lastly, there’s one thing your organization is guaranteed to have that a for-profit doesn’t: passion for its charitable mission. Oh sure, big companies like Amazon are passionate about fast shipping and having tons of products available, but they aren’t saving the rain forest, championing healthcare, or helping the elderly with transportation … all valuable missions that candidates can get behind.

Leverage your organization’s strengths to attract candidates.

  1. Evaluate Your Current Benefit Packages

One of the motivating factors behind the “great resignation” is the need for work-life balance. Many employees had the chance to re-evaluate their career and family situations during the pandemic. They realized that “all work and no play,” missing their children’s school events and dance recitals, skipping vacations, and never taking a sick day has taken its toll on their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

A cursory review of media articles that cite workers’ stories and reasons for leaving their careers offers both a glimpse into the problem as well as hints at a solution. If people are leaving their jobs because they realize they’re spending more time at work than at home, why not let people work from home? If people believe their work-life balance is important, what can your organization do to encourage a healthier attitude towards work and play?

It’s time to evaluate your organization’s current benefit packages. A survey of for-profit benefit packages, or delving into the available research, can help you position your nonprofit’s benefits favorably to comparable for-profit companies.

Consider the following benefits as part of an attractive package:

  • Additional holidays, such as Juneteenth or the days after Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years
  • Additional personal time off
  • Flexible hours
  • Telecommuting benefits
  • Additional time off for parents with newborns

Allow More Time During the Hiring Process

It’s a job seeker’s market right now. Candidates are likely flooded with opportunities from recruiters as well as job boards. It may be difficult to find a great fit for your organization, so allow additional time in the hiring process. It’s never a good idea to rush into hiring someone, and that is still unwise, even with a tight labor market. So, take your time, attract based on your greatest strengths, and find your next great employee!

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

7 Tips for Conducting Effective Virtual Interviews

By | HR | No Comments

It’s a job-seeker’s market right now, with more jobs open than people applying for them. In June 2021, for example, job openings in the United States rose to slightly over 10 million, an unprecedented surge.

Accounting and finance are already highly competitive job markets, with companies and nonprofits vying for the most talented professionals. In this atmosphere, employers must understand the differences between interviewing job candidates in person and through teleconferencing. More and more, companies are using technology to screen applicants, first by screening resumes and then throughout the interview process. By understanding and using the virtual interview process effectively, you can shorten the time it takes to find and hire great candidates.

7 Tips to Host Effective Virtual Interviews

  1. Invest in the right software.
  2. Send instructions to the candidate.
  3. Leave 5 minutes for a test run of the software.
  4. Prepare for the interview.
  5. Ensure adequate light.
  6. Check the sound quality.
  7. Minimize distractions.
  1. Invest in the right software.

You don’t need an expensive platform, but you do need a platform that allows for adequate time for the interview. Zoom, GoToMeeting, JoinMe, and other virtual meeting software often limits the amount of time or the number of people on a free virtual call. Investing in a simple hosted plan can help you ensure you have adequate time for the interview. If you do opt for a free package, be sure to have a backup plan ready if you decide to go over the time limit. There’s nothing worse than getting cut off in the middle of a conversation!

  1. Send instructions to the candidate.

Don’t assume that the candidate has the software downloaded or even knows how to use it. Send them simple instructions and a link to where they can download the software free of charge. Make sure to send such instructions at least twice, once when you schedule the interview and the day of the interview itself.

  1. Leave 5 minutes to test the software.

Leave at least 5 minutes between interview appointments so that you can test the software and your connection with the candidate. You may need to spend a few minutes at the start of the call getting the candidate familiar with the software, for example, if they want to do a screen share to show you samples of their work.

  1. Prepare for the interview.

Just because the interview is virtual does not make it any less important than an in-person interview. Hiring managers should prep for the interview the same as they would an in-person interview. Have the job description and the candidate’s resume in front of you, either on a second screen or printed out. Be sure to introduce yourself and explain how your position interacts with the position the candidate is interviewing for and add any information that will help the candidate understand the role, the company, or the interview process. Develop your questions beforehand and keep them handy, jotting down notes or asking permission to record the interview for reference later.

  1. Ensure adequate light.

It’s off-putting for both candidates and interviewers to speak with someone who looks like they’re working in a cave. Make sure you have a good light source illuminating your face from in front or the side. If you do not have access to natural light, invest in a ring light, a simple gadget that provides better lighting for virtual calls. These can be found in many online stores for a nominal fee and attach directly to the computer monitor to provide good lighting. Candidates need to see your facial expressions and you need to see theirs to help you both feel at ease.

  1. Check the sound quality.

Computer microphones vary in sound quality. Put on your headset, if you have one, if the candidate cannot hear you easily. Make sure you both know where the “mute” button is on the screen as well in the (likely) event of background noises: pets and children both seem to sense an important call and crash it accordingly!

  1. Minimize distractions.

Check your software to see if it has a “blur” feature for the background. If you are interviewing the candidate from home and wish to maintain more privacy, blurring the background can remove any identifying pictures of family or children or simply blur out a distraction, like interviewing from the kitchen and showing your sink full of breakfast dishes in the background. Minimize distractions by closing your office door, moving your computer to a quieter location in your home, and asking a spouse to watch young children while you’re on your call. And of course, turn your cellphone to mute, and turn off instant messaging to avoid being interrupted.

With the right software and preparation, you’re well on your way to hosting successful video interviews and finding great accounting and finance professionals.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

How to Improve Employee Retention by Improving Corporate Culture

By | Abila, Accounting, Corporate Culture, HR, MIP Fund Accounting, Nonprofit | No Comments

We’ve all seen the statistics: it costs several thousand dollars, and several weeks or months of lost productivity to fill vacancies. Nonprofits face additional employee retention challenges in a strong economy with low unemployment. Retaining skilled employees becomes more challenging in a strong, robust economy.

There is no one size fits all program you can put into place to improve retention. Instead, consider building a sustainable corporate culture that encourages people to feel loyal to your organization.

What Is Corporate Culture?

Corporate culture is the overall tone, mood, feeling and method of work that occurs within an organization. While difficult to define, it is easy to spot. A productive, positive corporate culture leads to loyalty, low turnover, and high productivity. A negative corporate culture leads to disgruntled employees, poor productivity, high turnover, and myriad other problems.


Improving Corporate Culture

The Harvard Business Review lists several methods to improve corporate culture.


  1. Clarify the organization’s vision. Nonprofits who successfully retain employees have a clearly defined vision for their organization. Pathway to Stop Diabetes, an initiative of the American Diabetes Association, has a clearly defined mission: “Our visionis simple yet revolutionary: find a new generation of brilliant scientists at the peak of their creativity, then provide them with the freedom, autonomy, and financial and professional resources to set them on the road to breakthrough discoveries.” A defined vision helps unite and clarify the work of everyone at a nonprofit, enhances company culture and is a central point around which all conversations can revolve  .
  2. Hire the right people. We know, it’s easier said than done, but hiring people who believe wholeheartedly in the vision is an important step toward building organizational culture and reducing turnover. Look for people with a demonstrated work history aligned with your mission. People’s actions speak louder than words when it comes to demonstrating their values, and their work history is the record of how they implement those values in their careers.
  3. Develop guiding principles. Guiding principles are the shared statements that reflect how to implement the mission and vision of an organization. They also document how you expect employees to behave, treat one another, and do their work. Guiding principles should include the ideas and concepts you would like to inculcate throughout the organization. A corporate culture that accepts and honors diversity, for example, might have as its guiding principle tolerance for all races, creeds, religions and sexual preferences; a corporate culture that values innovation might have as a guiding principle the embracing of creativity and the time needed to generate creative ideas.
  4. Build a compelling narrative. Narratives are stories and every nonprofit have its own unique story. Marley’s Mutts, a nonprofit animal rescue in Bakersfield, California, builds on the narrative of the founder’s battle with end stage liver disease and the role that Marley, his dog, had in helping him overcome hopelessness. That bond between dogs and people is what inspires all of Marley’s Mutts actions and programs including their prison outreach, special needs children’s outreach, and rescuing so-called unadoptable dogs from shelters around the world.
  5. Promote connections. People are less inclined to leave an organization if they feel strong connections to it and to others who work there. Millennials are often cited as lacking loyalty, but in fact, they simply have a low tolerance for boredom and the lack of interest in their work. Build connections to the organization through promoting challenging projects, increasing responsibility, and improving chances for advancement.


Building a strong corporate culture to improve employee retention takes time and effort. Make it a concerted effort among your leadership team, human resources, and managers to enact positive changes that build culture and improve loyalty.


Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting is a technology firm empowering nonprofit and government organizations with effective software, consulting & training that can help you with your accounting needs. We are committed to finding the most affordable technology, the most powerful solution, and providing expert support. By leveraging technology and superior reporting, our team helps to free more of your time to devote to the important work of your mission. We bridge people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We are passionate professionals who choose to work in the nonprofit sector for the same reason you do – helping others. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.