Thursday, November 7, 2013

10 Illegal Job Interview Questions

You are always taught as a job seeker to answer every question the hiring manager throws at you during a job interview. Sometimes, however, there are questions you are under no obligation to answer.

Employers' job interview questions are designed to gather as much information about you as possible so they can make an informed decision. The majority of the time these questions are simple and appropriate but there are some, rare, occasions where you will be asked a question that is simply illegal.

State and federal laws forbid discrimination based on certain protected categories, such as national origin, citizenship, or age. Below are 10 examples of questions that, should they come up, you are under no obligation to answer; all you have to do is politely decline to respond.

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you practice any religious customs?
  • How many children do you have?
  • Were you born in this country?
  • How long have you been working?
  • Do you have any outstanding debt or any other financial problems?
  • Do you have a history of using any illegal drugs?
  • Do you like to drink socially?
  • Is English your first language?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fundraiser Tips: Don't Say You're Sorry

There are legitimate times to say you're sorry -- like when you accidentally bumped into someone, spilling their hot coffee all over them. Or when you forgot your anniversary for the second year in a row.

While those situations call for apologies, you should never feel sorry about making an ask as a fundraiser.

“To go out and to have an apologetic tone when you are asking really sends a mixed, conflicted message to the people you are talking to,” said Timothy Winkler, CEO of Winkler Consulting Group in Charleston, S.C. Speaking at a recent Blackbaud Conference for Nonprofits, Winkler listed four reasons you should never say "sorry" as a fundraiser.
  • People don’t just hear “sorry.” What you say and what donors will interpret may be different when quickly follow up your ask with an apology. “The secondary message behind what you are communicating to those folks is ‘our mission really isn’t that important. Our mission really isn’t that urgent. Our mission isn’t a priority — there are other more important things you should be focusing on,’” said Winkler.
  • Times are tough. Everyone knows that the economy is in the pits. Your donors don’t need you to remind them of that. That’s what news reports are for. When you ask like the donation is a burden, it will feel that way to the donor.
  • Communicate the need. Statistics have played out again and again that donors still give during economic downturns. Donors need to feel that your mission is worth their discretionary dollar – so make your case for giving as strong as ever.
  • Be confident. “It’s a subtle tone and attitude, but it makes a huge difference in your effectiveness in raising that money,” said Winkler. Like a bad cold, confidence can spread from person to person. Let your donors catch your enthusiasm for the mission.

Monday, November 4, 2013

5 Mistakes Of New Nonprofit Employees

So you finally got that nonprofit job. You might think the hard part is over but in reality the first few weeks at a new employer can be the hardest.

Whether you are working at a nonprofit job in New York or Iowa, you will find, as a new employee, that there is a lot on your plate. The choices you make in your first few weeks on the job will determine whether you will be successful.

The technical aspects of the job -- your duties, etc. -- are hard enough, but it's how you behave in your new environment that can ultimately make the difference. That's why all new employees should avoid these five potentially job-killing behaviors:
  • Ignoring the Organizational Culture: This is especially important to consider for those who are new to the nonprofit sector. Pay attention to how your co-workers act, and adjust your behavior accordingly.
  • Arrogance: Nobody likes an employee who thinks they know everything and this is especially true when you have yet to prove your worth. A little humility in your dealings with co-workers will go a long way.
  • Blending In: On the flip side, it's also not good to be perceived as avoiding responsibility or ignoring your new co-workers. Start making connections from day one.
  • Not Admitting Mistakes: There's nothing wrong with making an error but there is something wrong with not admitting it. As the old saying goes, the cover-up is worse than the crime.
  • Not Asking For Feedback: After one month on the job, you should ask your supervisor for a brief meeting so you can find out how you are doing. This will show that you are open to feedback and are committed to doing the best job possible. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

4 Traits Of A Major Gifts Officer

Things just seem to go smoother when an organization has the right major gifts officer. Unfortunately, bringing on the right candidate for this job is not as simple as taking the first fundraising expert you find.

When hiring a major gifts officer appearance can be everything. Since the chosen candidate will be in contact with your most influential supporters, you have to be sure you are bringing on someone who will represent your organization well. During the Association For Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) international conference in Boston, Mass., Holly Duncan, president and CEO of the Morton Plant Mease Health Care Foundation in Clearwater, Fla. outlined her own qualifications for a major gifts officer.

The four traits are:
  • Look for candidates in unconventional areas. People with a focus in technology have the ability and inclination to fully leverage information services capacity. Other qualifications they might have are the ability to research, schedule, communicate and document gifts.
  • Seek out someone who doesn’t just have traditional book smarts. Problem solvers and strategic thinkers can think quickly — that can help you out of a bind.
  • In a position that talks to others frequently, it’s important to have someone who is both skilled verbally and in writing. A major gifts officer should know how to listen, ask open-ended questions and engage on all levels.
  • Even though you will want someone who can work independently, a candidate should be able work with a team. There should be transparency and an attempt to engage allies. No one “owns a donor.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Featured Nonprofit Job: Operations Administrator

Homeward Bound, Inc., located in Plymouth, MN, is looking to hire an Operations Administrator. Do you think you have what it takes to succeed at a position that requires creativity, initiative, and independence? If so, this is the perfect job for you.

The chosen candidate for this position will be primarily responsible for designing and growing Homeward Bound's Individualized Housing Options Program (IHO), which provides access to homes for those in need. Reporting directly to CEO, the Operations Administrator will be required to recruit individuals into the program, set up, coordinate, develop processes/procedures, and systems, all in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

This position will also be responsible for managing IHO program and service delivery, consumer satisfaction, internal budget, agencies program contracts, and developing external/internal working relationships and organizational leadership.

Requirements to be considered for this job include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a related related field;
  • 3-5 years’ experience as a middle manager in the field delivering long term care services for individuals with disabilities required and experience as a senior manager desired;
  • Excellent skills in management of service delivery to persons with disabilities;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of trends in the service delivery to persons with disabilities;
  • Excellent leadership and communication skills; and,
  • Demonstrated “can –do” demeanor.
You can learn more about what it takes to be an Operations Administrator at Homeward Bound, Inc., by visiting the NPT Jobs Career Center.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

6 Ways To Avoid Hiring Risks

If you aren't being sued by someone who was hurt by one of your employees, chances are you are being sued by someone you didn't offer a job. That's just the way things seem to go these days in the modern workforce.

It's impossible to completely eliminate hiring risks but there are ways to increase your chances of avoiding them. In their book “Exposed: A Legal Field Guide for Nonprofit Executives” published by the Nonprofit Management Risk Center, Melanie Lockwood Herman and Mark E. Chopko provided advice for nonprofit hiring managers who want to minimize risk in their screening of potential employees.

Lockwood Herman and Chopko provided the following six strategies:
  • Establish written screening guidelines and use written tools to substantiate your efforts, such as position descriptions, interview scripts, hiring checklists, reference check worksheets, and checklists for conducting other background checks.
  • Use the same screening tools for every applicant for the same position.
  • Decide in advance what will disqualify a candidate.
  • Don’t disqualify applicants based on their beliefs.
  • When checking references, only ask the reference questions you can ask the candidate.
  • Train all staff involved in the hiring process on the hiring policies and risks involved.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Featured Nonprofit Job: Chief Financial Officer

If you have ever rallied for a cause before, the term grassroots campaigns is probably familiar to you; the organization Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., however, might not be as well-known to you.

The Boston-based advocacy organization is looking to hire a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to serve in a hands-on role managing the Finance function and assuming a strategic role in the overall management of the company. The CFO will report to the Managing Director and have primary day-to-day responsibility for planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities of the company.

Other primary responsibilities include:

  • Direct and oversee all aspects of the Finance & Accounting functions of the organization.
  • Ensure credibility of Finance group by providing timely and accurate analysis of budgets, financial trends and forecasts.
  • Manage Human Resources function including benefits management.
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships with senior executives so as to identify their needs, provide guidance and seek full range of business solutions.
  • Development recommendations to strategically enhance financial performance and business opportunities.
  • Manage processes for financial forecasting, budgets and consolidation and reporting.
  • Provide leadership in the development for the continuous evaluation of short and long-term strategic financial objectives.
Qualified applicants should have a BS in Accounting or Finance, though a MBA and/or CPA is preferred. In addition, candidates will need to have 12+ years progressively responsible financial leadership roles, preferably in a service based industry.

Do you want to learn more about this nonprofit job? If so, head to the NPT Jobs Career Center, where you will find detailed application instructions.