Back to School: 10 Tips For a Best In Class Finance Department


If your nonprofit were awarded funding to create a better finance department, how would you spend it?  For this webinar, we’ve compiled what we feel to be the most significant characteristics of a “best-in-class” nonprofit finance department.  Does your finance department rise to the top of its class?  Join us to find out!

Who Should Attend: Individuals who are new to managing or providing financial services for nonprofit organizations or would like a refresher on best practices are encouraged to attend.

Learning Objectives:   

  1. Explain who makes a strong finance department team member
  1. Understand the importance of a secure internal control environment when building a strong finance department
  1. Describe actions and best practices of an efficient finance department
  1. Summarize tips that contribute to a “best-in-class” finance department

Participants will earn 1.0 CPE credit in Finance. 

To receive credit, attendees must respond to three out of the four attendance checks asked during the program.

Once registered, you will automatically receive access to the webcast recording and if you qualified for CPE, have the ability to download your certificate.

Additional Information 
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this program
Advanced Preparation: None
Program Level: Basic
Delivery Method:  Group Internet Based

Refunds and Cancellations: There is no fee to attend this program.  In the rare event that YPTC needs to cancel a webinar program due to circumstances beyond our control, all registrants will be notified via email and provided with alternative dates the program will be offered.  For more information regarding refund, complaint, and program cancellation policies, please visit

Your Part-Time Controller, LLC is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit.  Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

Angela Coaxum
Angela Coaxum
Your Part-Time Controller, LLC

Angela Coaxum, Manager with Your Part-Time Controller, LLC (YPTC), has more than 30 years of accounting and audit experience and is the market leader in charge of YPTC’s Delaware office. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Public Accounting from Iona College she pursued an auditing career with Ernst & Young (EY). That is where she first realized her passion for working with healthcare and not-for-profit organizations. Angela left EY as a Senior Manager and relocated to Delaware where she joined the Catholic Healthcare Audit Network serving as an Internal Audit Director. She joined YPTC in 2009 and worked as an Associate and Manager in the Philadelphia market before opening the Delaware office in 2020.

Angela leads sessions throughout the year on Board fiduciary responsibilities for current and prospective nonprofit board members through NonProfitConnect in New Jersey and the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia. She also leads the Financials training session for NonProfitConnect’s Leading from Within program. Angela is Co-Director of the Children’s Ministry at Seeds of Greatness Bible Church and resides in Bear, DE.

Ellie Hume
Ellie Hume
Your Part-Time Controller, LLC

Eleanor (Ellie) Hume, CPA, MBA, Director with Your Part-Time Controller, LLC (YPTC), is the market leader in charge of YPTC’s New York Region and helped establish their NYC office in 2012. Ms. Hume has been working with non-profit and governmental organizations to build stronger accounting departments for nearly 20 years and enjoys digging in, cleaning things up and finding the most efficient processes to cut down on overhead costs. She takes pride in helping non-profits achieve their missions through better financial management and accounting practices.

Ellie earned her MBA from George Mason University and holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and business management from Shepherd College. She is an active member of the NYSSCPA, the AICPA, and serves on the NYSSCPA’s Not-for-Profit Organizations, CFO and Diversity and Inclusion Committees and is a frequent speaker with many NY based nonprofit focused organization such as NYN Media, Nonprofit New York, Philanthropy New York, NYCON and NYSSCPA/FAE, and has made several recent appearances on American Nonprofit Academy’s The Nonprofit Show

2023 Compensation Budgeting Forecast
Part 1: Base Pay Adjustments

Compensation Budgeting Forecast

2022 has certainly been a topsy-turvy year. Unemployment is at record lows (lowest in 50 years), but inflation has also been its highest (hovering between 8% and 9%). Good news – the data are starting to come in regarding 2023! In this part one of a three-part review of 2023 compensation planning projections, we will share what we have found.

2023 U.S. Economy

There are conflicting predictions coming in regarding 2023. Some are forecasting a major recession and the return of higher unemployment. Others take a more optimistic view and see inflation coming down but unemployment remaining low. The following is the most up to date outlook from the experts that ultimately will have an influence on compensation budgeting for 2023.

Goldman Sachs Analysts Upgrade their 2023 Forecasts (

Goldman Sachs updated its own prediction, reporting that a recession is now twice as likely than it had previously forecasted. Earlier this year, the bank estimated that the chance of a recession in the coming year was 15%. Now it’s 30%—and even more likely if you project out another year. Goldman Sachs also downgraded its U.S. GDP estimates below consensus for the next two years to reflect the drag on the economy. “The Fed has front-loaded rate hikes more aggressively, terminal rate expectations have risen, and financial conditions have tightened further and now imply a substantially larger drag on growth — somewhat more than we think is necessary,” Goldman’s economists said in a note from late-Monday. Goldman Sachs forecasts a 25% conditional probability of the United States entering a recession in 2024 if it avoids one in 2023, adding that this meant that there was a 48% cumulative probability of a recession over the next two years compared to its prior forecast of 35%.

Alternative Economic Indicators

While there are many “experts” that voice their opinions regarding how the economy will play out in 2023, there is one often over-looked economic indicator that has been very consistent in predicting how strong the economy will be year after the year. This is the “Carboard Box Economic Indicator,” mentioned several times in previous Astronology® articles. Most if not all durable goods manufactured in the United States are shipped in cardboard containers. This industry must be ahead of the curve to be sure that the cardboard containers are available to meet the projected demands of the manufacturers. Below is an updated projection graphic from

AnythingResearch Paper Market Forecast Graph

As can be seen, the indicators remain somewhat flat from 2022 into 2023, reflecting Goldman’s projection of a recession continuing into 2023. In fact, it appears that this industry will remain flat until 2027.

The Impact of the “Unofficial” Minimum Wage

The “unofficial” minimum wage continues to grow and is having a dramatic impact on internal pay structures. Continued movement beyond $15.00 an hour towards $20.00 an hour has created serious internal compression among employees, and especially for those who supervise employees. Here is a list of companies that have established a $20 minimum wage:

  • Taco Time NW – This locally-owned, Mexican-style restaurant chain founded by the Tonkin family has been committed to raising the wages of their crew to “livable wages” and last increased the crew’s salary at the end of 2021.
  • The Boston Beer Company – Brewers of this company earn about $24 an hour.
  • McCain Foods USA, Inc. – Production specialists at the food production company earn between $20 and $25 an hour.
  • Mccormick & Co Inc. – If you’re looking for factory jobs in the food production industry, you can earn over $20 an hour as a blending machine operator.
  • Land O’Lakes, Inc. – This farmer-owned food production cooperative pays machine operators starting at $20 an hour, while their maintenance mechanics get over $25/hour.
  • The Kraft Heinz Company – Quality specialists at this company earn at least $22 per hour. Kraft Heinz is home to over 20 food brands, so expect availabilities in factories near you.
  • Danone – One of the world’s largest food companies, Danone hires warehouse workers (for $20/hour), parts clerks (for $24/hour), and product packers (for $28/hour).
  • Conagra Brands – Join the Conagra Brands team as a production operator and earn over $22/hour.
  • Biogen – This biotech company develops therapies for autoimmune and neurological diseases. 75% of jobs at Biogen begin at over $20 an hour.
  • Merck – About 78% of Merck’s employees are happy with their jobs. QA specialists, for example, earn about $25/hour, while research scientists earn over $30/hour.
  • Pfizer – 37% of Pfizer’s employees work from home. Entry-level positions also earn about $28 to $30 an hour.
  • Gilead Sciences – 91% of employees here feel that their job has meaning thanks to childcare options, tuition reimbursement, and the ability to buy company stock. For example, interns here earn over $25/hour, associate scientists begin with a $30/hour paycheck, and sales specialists could earn as high as $70/hour.
  • AbbVie – This Illinois-based pharma company is known to pay its employees 6% above the market. Medreps at Abbvie earn $40/hour.
  • Johnson & Johnson – This global company is present in 30 countries with 130,000 employees. R&D jobs begin at $25/hour, while admin positions start at around $20 an hour.
  • Amgen – This company, which has developed several cancer treatments, is known to pay its employees high with educational opportunities and technical training. Average entry-level jobs at Amgen are paid around $23/hour.
  • FILMLESS – This growing production company produces video content for a TON of clients. Their video editors earn around $27 to $35 an hour.
  • Meta Design – With locations around the world, Meta Design employs multimedia artists with salaries ranging from $35 to $70 per hour.
  • Guitar Center – This leading retailer of musical instruments hires sound engineering technicians across the country. They earn about $20 to $55 an hour.
  • Chanel – When it comes to the fashion industry, Chanel is the most desired company to work for not only because of its renowned name but also because it takes care of its people. The mid-level fashion designers here earn about $35 an hour.
  • Hobby Lobby – Retail managers here earn between $27 and $36 an hour. The company’s full-time workers begin at $18.50 (a starting wage that’s way higher than many retail companies in the country).
  • Crate and Barrel – Customer service managers here earn about $50 per hour.
  • Walmart – Since late 2020, Walmart has increased wages for its 165,000 employees around the country. Store managers here can earn starting at $35 per hour.
  • Costco – Not only has Costco a reputation for being an exceptional employer, they also pay higher than average. Their Costco mid-level associates earn about $20 an hour.
  • Ulta Beauty – Purchasing managers at this makeup and beauty supply store earn about $60 an hour.
  • Century 21 – As one of the biggest real estate companies in the country with over 122,000 real estate agents under their wing (as of Q1 2021), Century 21 is an in-demand company. Its real estate agents earn a minimum of $24 an hour.
  • SAP America – This company’s software sales representatives earn $55 an hour. But what makes this job super sought after because they also receive up to $100k commissions.
  • McDermott Will & Emery – This Chicago-based law firm is known to pay the highest in the industry. Even their paralegals earn between $22 and $35 an hour depending on experience.
  • Zco – This app development firm is a frontrunner in the field and hires the best mobile app developers for over $50/hour. (Note that entry-level mobile app developers earn $30 an hour in the industry).
  • Deloitte – The company has 55000 employees across 80 offices in the US. Their mid-level bookkeepers earn above $20 per hour.

Summary of 2023 Salary Adjustment Projections

While there are many, including WorldatWork that have released preliminary budget trends, at this time we find the most comprehensive review coming to us from Willis Towers Watson.

Willis Towers Watson (

  • In response to a tight labor market, employers are planning to up employee salaries in the biggest projected hike in 15 years, new data from Willis Towers Watson finds.
  • Although it’s a new recent high, it’s not by much: Companies, on average, are budgeting a 4.1% salary increase for 2023, just above this year’s average 4% increase.
  • The 2022 and 2023 salary increases are the largest since the Great Recession of 2008, according to the consulting firm, which surveyed 1,430 employers for insights in April and May.
  • Nearly two in three (64%) U.S. companies are budgeting for higher pay raises than last year, while two-fifths (41%) increased their budgets since original projections were made earlier this year, the survey found.
  • Less than half of companies (45%) are sticking with the pay budgets they set at the start of the year. Concerns over the hot job market—which is seeing a record number of employees leave their jobs for better opportunities—are overwhelmingly driving salary increases, with nearly three in four survey respondents (73%) citing the competitive market as their top factor.
  • That’s followed by employee expectations for higher increases that are driven by inflation (cited by 46% of respondents) and anticipation of stronger financial results (cited by 28%). “Compounding economic conditions and new ways of working are leading organizations to continually reassess their salary budgets to remain competitive,” says Hatti Johansson, research director, rewards data intelligence, at WTW.

Astron Solutions’ Recommendations

The following recommendations are based on current client activity and budget discussions regarding 2023 budgeting:

  • The trend is pointing to base pay budgets of 4% – 5%, with 5% becoming more prevalent.
  • Clients also are establishing contingency budgets of 1% – 2% of base pay for potential additional market adjustments if the current labor availability does not loosen up.
  • Clients also are budgeting for one special employee bonus of 2% – 3%, to use as a special retention bonus in the coming year.

With over four months still to go in 2022, along with the potential impact of the mid-term elections, Astron Solutions will be watching what develops, and will provide additional updates as 2023 compensation budgeting trends become clearer.

What is your organization planning for 2023?

Working With a Nonprofit Human Resources Consultant: A Guide

Working With a Nonprofit Human Resources Consultant

Every nonprofit, from large, enterprise-level organizations to small organizations, is powered by an internal team. And to effectively recruit, hire, train, and manage the people who make up that team, you need strong human resources policies and strategies in place.

And on top of providing a great employment experience for your team, a strong nonprofit human resources strategy can also have a ripple effect on your mission and the community you serve. This is because when your organization’s internal team can work together effectively, you’ll be better able to achieve long-term, sustainable success as you fundraise, connect with donors, manage your programming, and more.

However, having an optimized human resources approach is often easier said than done. Nonprofits simply have more unique needs than for-profit organizations when it comes to HR strategy and management. This means that HR professionals at nonprofits must adhere to and balance a number of different factors to make the best decisions for their organizations, such as:

  • State and federal employment laws (no, nonprofits aren’t exempt!)
  • Nonprofit-specific tax, accounting, executive compensation, and employee classification regulations
  • Tight or unpredictable budgets
  • Heavily mission-driven goals

Many organizations look to the guidance of an outside expert when it’s time to build out or refresh their approach to human resources. Even for larger, more established organizations, an outside perspective is almost always the best choice. Hiring and working with a nonprofit human resources consultant, though, can be tricky—especially if you’ve never done it before! In this guide, we’ll walk through all the essentials you’ll need to know to get an effective start:

Are you ready to strengthen your nonprofit from the inside out? Working with a nonprofit HR consultant is a step in the right direction, and with our help, you’ll find the perfect partner in no time at all! Let’s dive right in.

Click through to learn more about Astron Solutions' nonprofit human resources consultants!

Who We Are: Astron Solutions’ Nonprofit HR Consultants

At Astron Solutions, we’ve been providing HR consulting services and talent management software to small and mid-sized organizations since 1999. We understand nonprofits and their needs, and we’re committed to helping you engage and retain your employees while also keeping your bottom line in mind.

Astron Solutions' nonprofit human resources consultants can help your organization streamline its HR strategy!

We provide a variety of services, from total rewards compensation consulting to customized survey creation to help you better understand your employees’ needs. Our team can help you solve even the trickiest of nonprofit HR problems!

Learn more about Astron Solutions’ services and solutions!

Nonprofit Human Resources Consulting: Understanding the Basics

There are plenty of reasons why a nonprofit organization might decide that it’s time to seek outside human resources guidance. Some of the most common reasons include the following:

  • The organization is going through a transitional period. Times of quick growth or leadership changes are typical examples. These periods are great opportunities for organizations to make any important changes or updates to their human resources structures that they might have been putting off.
  • The nonprofit is experiencing retention or recruitment issues. Nonprofits experience these issues like any other type of organization, and HR often represents the first line of defense for combatting turnover and developing stronger, more holistic compensation strategies.
  • The organization simply needs to build out its first set of human resources processes. As mission-driven organizations with fairly tight budgets, growing nonprofits often postpone developing concrete human resources policies, processes, and departments until they’ve been up and running for a while.
  • Outside forces (like a global pandemic or mass social movements) begin to affect the nonprofit’s internal operations and leave them unsure of the next steps. There will always be situations and events that arise which are outside of an organization’s control. Revisiting and improving their current HR strategy is a great way to keep employees engaged and motivated during times of instability.

Of course, the exact reason an organization decides to hire a nonprofit human resources consultant will vary. However, all of the situations listed above have one thing in common: the organizations want or need more stable foundations on which to grow.

Well-developed and properly-scaled human resources programs will strengthen your organization’s ability to grow sustainably. An outside expert is in a great position to help determine which strategies will be most effective in the long run.

This photo shows a nonprofit human resources consultant working with a client to improve their HR strategy.

Nonprofit Human Resources Consultant Services

If you’ve never worked with a consultant before or if you’re trying to build out your organization’s first HR policies, it can be tricky to know what to look for without understanding the field more generally. For some additional context, let’s cover the types of services that nonprofit human resources consultants typically provide.

So, what does an HR consultant do? Their services span a fairly broad range, including the following:

  • Evaluating or auditing your existing human resources structures and policies
  • Retention-focused strategy development to help you retain more of your top talent
  • General compensation consulting and role-specific strategy development
  • Helping nonprofits design incentive and recognition programs to encourage project-specific and long-term employee engagement
  • Employee communication support, including survey design and administration
  • Performance management guidance or training, or management software support
  • Work-from-home program guidelines and support
  • HR support during economic and social challenges

Your organization will likely have one or two specific goals in mind when searching for a human resources consultant. Candidates with general experience in HR consulting might do the trick for more standard projects, but always make sure to ask about their experience as it relates to your particular needs and the current social climate, too.

Remember, a human resources consultant is not an appropriate replacement or filler for a dedicated, in-house HR team. Many consultants don’t offer the types of services that these teams would perform, like payroll administration. However, consultants are strong partners for helping you to develop and train a well-equipped HR team. As you begin to explore potential firms to work with, note each firm’s specializations and how they might help your growing nonprofit.

Check out Astron Solutions’ list of recommended HR consulting firms!

How to Effectively Hire and Work With a Nonprofit Human Resources Consultant

Now that you know what a nonprofit human resources consultant does, you’re likely eager to kickstart the process of partnering with your own consultant. We’ll help you prepare to hire the best possible consultant by walking through the basic hiring steps you’ll need to follow.

These are the basic steps of hiring a nonprofit HR consultant.

1. Examine your goals and needs.

Think about why you need a human resources consultant and what you need or want to accomplish by working with one. Chances are your reasons will fit into one of the general situations listed above, but your exact goals will probably be a bit more varied.

Clearly defining your goals and needs (or at least having a clear sense of what you need to accomplish) will go a long way to both help you find the perfect partner and streamline their job later on.

2. Meet with your nonprofit’s board and outline guidelines.

In order to get started hiring an HR consultant, you need to ensure your leadership is on the same page as the rest of your team. Make sure you discuss the plan with all board members to ensure everyone aligns on the need to hire a consultant and your goals for working with one. This way, there’s no confusion, time wasted, or future pushback. 

When you meet with your board members, this is also a good time to outline some key guidelines to follow in your search for an HR consultant. This should include a general budget or maximum cost you will pay, a target start date for services, and a general timeframe for the entire engagement. With these guidelines laid out, you can approach your initial candidate research more intentionally.

3. Build a hiring team.

Getting multiple perspectives on potential HR consultants will help you find the best fit. Many organizations create hiring teams or committees to focus more directly on this effort. Hiring teams are also useful for delegating tasks, like who should research candidates and who should review proposals.

Your team should consist of leaders in your organization plus any staff members that will be working directly with the consultant, like existing HR staff. If your consultant is helping you build your organization’s first human resources department, the staff member who will lead future HR tasks should be included.

4. Conduct research.

Start searching online for top nonprofit consultants. There are plenty of useful resources out there that explain top consultants and their specialties (like our guide to compensation consultants). Most human resources consultants don’t necessarily specialize in working with nonprofits, so determine in advance if you want a partner with experience primarily in the nonprofit sector.

Don’t forget to reach out to your colleagues and contacts in other organizations, too. If you know another organization that has worked with a nonprofit human resources consultant, ask them about their experience. They’ll most likely have recommendations and insights to share.

5. Draft an RFP.

With your hiring team, work on drafting a request for proposal (RFP) for a human resources consultant. An RFP effectively communicates your organization’s exact HR needs and goals. This way, you can ask each HR consultant candidate for their proposal in an easy-to-digest and fully-standardized format. 

Your RFP will depend on your organization’s unique situation, but there are a few common points that are crucial to include. In order to yield the best results, consider the following elements:

Refer to this RFP template when requesting proposals from nonprofit HR consultants.

RFP Template for Hiring a Nonprofit Consultant

  • Nonprofit Overview: A description of your organization, including your history, mission, and audience
  • Scope of Services: A description of your HR needs, including the specific services you’re looking for and any additional context for your needs
  • Guidelines: The guidelines that you and your nonprofit board laid out earlier in the process, including budget and timeline
  • Expected Outcomes: This should include your general goals and a list of concrete deliverables
  • Additional Questions and Requests: Any other information you’d like to get from the consultant to help you decide if they’re the right fit for your organization

Basically, your RFP is a concise representation of your entire HR needs for all of your consultant candidates. The more focused and direct your RFP is, the better and more useful your proposals will be.

6. Reach out to your top candidates.

Once you and your team have narrowed down a shortlist of candidates, reach out to the top two or three. Start by introducing your organization, requesting more information on their services, and asking for references. If you want a proposal, send out the RFP that you’ve already written. Once the consultants complete and present their proposals, you can begin narrowing down your choices even further. Don’t be afraid to examine consultants’ proposals with a critical eye and ask them to adjust their proposals to better meet your needs.

So, what should you be watching for in these final stages of the hiring process? There are a few key characteristics to look for in any potential nonprofit human resources consultant for your organization. These might be fairly self-evident, but it’s still important that your team is aware of them. A strong proposal from a candidate is great, but unless you can see your team successfully working with them, that partnership might not be the best choice. 

Here are some top characteristics to look for in a potential HR consultant:

  • Experience working on projects similar to your own, and with nonprofits similar to your own, ideally in terms of both mission and size. This helps ensure that the consultant fully understands your particular circumstance and unique pressures.
  • How they describe their methods or general approach when you reach out to discuss their services and your project. As with practically any important project or initiative, a flexible and individualized approach is always more effective than a one-size-fits-all solution.
  • Strong communication efforts. This includes quick responses to your questions and thorough explanations of key concepts. 
  • Respect for your organization’s work and vision. The right consultant will be willing to workshop the ideas they bring to the table so that they align with your specific needs, goals, and vision. You don’t want a “my way or the highway” consultant as a partner!

After screening for these key characteristics, look for positive reviews online, or, better yet, reach out directly to their past clients for references. This is a great way to get a sense of how the consultant works in action. Make sure that the consultant’s work had a lasting impact on the performance of their previous clients’ human resources programs, not just a one-time band-aid-type fix that shortly wore off.

7. Make your pick.

Once you’ve reviewed the proposals that your organization received from candidates and considered each one’s professional characteristics, it’s time to make your pick. Work with your team to settle on your favorite candidate, then notify them of your decision. You’ll most likely then need to finalize their proposed plan, agree on some logistics like pay and the length of the engagement, and sign a contract.

Remember, any consultant should serve as a partner for your organization, not simply an outside expert who’ll come in, fix your problems, and leave. In order to make the most of your engagement, your organization should be prepared with questions and issues to work through, which can help you learn from your consultant’s insights.

Working with a Nonprofit Human Resources Consultant

After you’ve picked your nonprofit HR consultant, it’s time to start working together. However, to go forward, it’s important to first ensure you have a firm understanding of what strong nonprofit HR looks like. This is especially crucial if you’re a smaller organization without a current human resources department or well-defined policies.

Once you have a foundation of what strong nonprofit HR looks like, you can then determine how to best work with your nonprofit HR consultant. To understand both of these processes, begin by reviewing the following HR tips:

  • Take a mission-driven, project-oriented approach. A nonprofit’s priorities are shaped by its overarching mission, but its strategies will vary greatly from one campaign to the next. Nonprofit HR should be guided by the core mission but be able to adapt to changing projects.
  • Make communication a top priority. Clear communication is key for nonprofits. The unique pressures of the nonprofit sector and the campaign-by-campaign approach to fundraising means everyone will perform better when they’re on the same page.
  • Develop strategies for managing unpaid staff. Nonprofits rely on dedicated volunteers for all kinds of essential tasks, and they require clear management in order to effectively support your goals, just like paid staff members do. A well-organized volunteer program will include human resources elements.
  • Take an assertive approach to recruitment. Recruiting top talent is hard work, especially for positions in nonprofit organizations. Don’t be afraid to take a strategic and assertive approach to recruiting new staff members.
  • Try to anticipate changes and hardships. Tight budgets, leadership changes, and shifts in funding sources can all throw a wrench into your organization’s strategies. Human resources should plan ahead by developing executive succession and emergency fundraising plans, for instance.
This image shows a nonprofit human resources consultant leading a meeting with an organization's staff members.

As you examine your own HR goals and needs and prepare to hire a nonprofit human resources consultant, keep these best practices in mind. You and your consultant should be on the same page about how to best prioritize and approach nonprofit human resources tasks and responsibilities.

Now that you have a general feel for what effective HR should look like at your nonprofit, let’s examine how you can get the most value out of working with a nonprofit human resources consultant. Here are some best practices to apply:

These are the best practices you should follow when first working with a nonprofit HR consultant.
  • Take a partnership approach. Make sure your consultants take the time to get to know your organization and genuinely understand your mission and audience. This way, they have all the context they need to finalize their HR strategy recommendations. 
  • Understand all changes. Members of your staff might not be familiar with the full scope of nonprofit HR and its responsibilities, so clearly communicate new developments across your organization.
  • Ask for documentation. When you partner with an HR consultant, you’re working to improve your HR strategy for the present and as your organization grows. Make sure you have everything you need to ensure long-term success before your engagement with the consultant officially ends. Having documentation and training materials from the HR consultant can help you better communicate new processes with the rest of your organization and act as resources if you encounter any new issues.

Partnering with a nonprofit human resources consultant can do great things for your organization, but make sure that your nonprofit is ready to make the most of the engagement. This way, you avoid any confusion or wasted time. Following the best practices above can help keep you on the right track and ensure success for your nonprofit HR strategies.

Working With Astron Solutions

Is your nonprofit looking for a true partner that can assist in fine-tuning its human resources strategy? Astron Solutions is a full-service HR consulting firm that believes in working closely with your organization to create the best plan of action that keeps your team strong and able to move your mission forward.

We offer the following services to our nonprofit clients:

  • General HR consulting for overall strategy and policy development and implementation
  • Total rewards compensation consulting
  • Custom compensation and general HR survey development, administration, and analysis
  • Talent management software

When you work with Astron Solutions, you can rest assured knowing that your HR strategy will be tailor-made just for your nonprofit team.

Get in touch with Astron Solutions today!

Wrapping Up

Strong strategy and management of human resources underpin all successful organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit. With the unique pressures of the nonprofit sector, though, it’s crucially important that these organizations get it right. An expert guide is often the best bet for building out or correcting strong HR policies and structures that will support sustainable growth.

Hiring a nonprofit human resources consultant can be a game changer for the organizations that are ready for their services. Take your time conducting your research, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect partner.

Want to keep exploring the world of HR? Check out these additional resources:

Click through to contact Astron Solutions and begin working with a nonprofit HR consultant!

Top Insights from Real HR’s Educational Panel with NXUnite

Top Insights from Real HR’s Educational Panel with NXUnite

Whether you’re a small nonprofit seeking to find ways to reward employees on a limited budget or a large nonprofit hoping to thank employees through other reward opportunities, your organization can recognize the ways in which employee appreciation is at the heart of human resources and employee management for nonprofits.

In July, Jill Krumholz, Co-Owner and Managing Partner of RealHR Solutions, was joined by Jennifer Loftus at Astron Solutions and Suzanne Smith at Social Impact Architects for NXUnite’s “Employee Appreciation All Year Round: Nonprofit HR Best Practices.” The panelists focused on celebrating employees, volunteers, and board members through acknowledging diversity among employees,  compensating in more ways than one, and understanding the needs of individual employees.

Celebrating Change

As the world evolves, nonprofit employers need to evolve with it. Throughout the panel, Jill emphasized that there is not one nonprofit employee profile– and this fact should be celebrated. “People want to bring their whole selves to work,” Jill said, and HR Departments and employers should recognize the importance of equity and inclusion in order to ensure that employees have their needs met.

As RealHR Solutions writes in their diversity management overview, “Simply put, organizations today have an increased obligation to be socially-conscious [and thus inclusive] employers.” Jill referred to this responsibility, which she feels is becoming more and more prevalent in the modern workplace, as challenging but exciting. Employers should recognize the mutual benefits to both employee and employer of listening to and including employees– in fact, not embracing diversity and inclusivity is one of the top governance mistakes that nonprofit boards make. As Jill made clear in the panel, in order to appreciate employees and make a workplace a space in which employees want to work and stay, diversity and inclusion must be forefront and center. 

Celebrating… but on a limited budget

Many nonprofit organizations are interested in embracing change but are concerned that it is not enough if not backed by financial rewards. So how can nonprofits appreciate their employees/board members/etc. on a limited budget? The answer, our panelists emphasized, is through a variety of non-monetary methods.

The panelists explained to their nonprofit audience that just as there is more than one type of nonprofit employee, there is also more than one type of employee compensation. Jill stressed the need for holistic compensation and suggested that indirect compensation can often be as important as direct compensation. 

Some examples of indirect compensation that Jill gave included newsletters with employee shoutouts, peer-to-peer recognition, and small gift certificates. Jennifer added that a simple way to appreciate employees is through shout-out slides during weekly meeting presentations which recognize the great work that employees have done. Sometimes, something small, such as a trophy that is passed off from one employee to another for a period of time as a form of peer-to-peer recognition, can not only make employees feel recognized but also bring teams together. As Jill noted, employee appreciation can be less about the scale of the compensation itself and more about recognizing what resonates with your individual employees.

Appreciating the individual

As employers seek to recognize their employees through indirect compensation, they should understand that different employees want to be appreciated in different ways. As Suzanne noted, “Culture” in the workplace “is side-to-side, not top-down,” so it might be helpful to create committees that can work to recognize the needs of the group. It also might be useful, she stated, to actually dive into what individual employees’ styles are through personality quizzes, such as the Love Languages Quiz

Some employees might revel in being recognized in front of the whole team — for example, many millennials love receiving feedback and recognition. But other employees might appreciate quieter recognition, such as written feedback or a note of acknowledgment. Overall, employers should seek to understand their employees for who they are and what they truly need.


There are many ways to appreciate employees, and these include diversifying your nonprofit staff, compensating through various means, and acknowledging different recognition styles and tactics when calling out your employees’ hard work. 

Throughout the panel “Employee Appreciation All Year Round,” panelists Jill Krumholz, Jennifer Loftus, and Suzanne Smith provided insights into how to celebrate your employees, not as a homogenous group of workers but as individuals with differing strengths and weaknesses. And, the panelists agreed, it is these differences that allow nonprofit teams to accomplish their missions, as they work together to delegate and communicate every step of the way.

Juggling the Challenges of Remote Employee Compensation

Over the last two years, employees have come to appreciate the benefits to a fully remote or hybrid work environment. These benefits include saving time commuting, more productivity, schedule flexibility, and better work / life balance. A vast majority of workers do not want to relinquish these benefits as we begin to migrate back into the office. According to Payscale’s 2021 State of Remote Work Report, 43% of employees expect more remote work options moving forward. Yes – remote work is here to stay. Considering the high number of employees anticipating opportunities for remote work and the bourgeoning talent retention challenges from the Great Resignation, organizations must consider how they will respond. In this Astronology®, we’ll briefly discuss a weakness many organizations are facing in connection with the recent demand for remote and hybrid work environments, and some compensation options to deal with this new work environment.

Three Common Approaches to Remote Work Base Pay Compensation

Payscale’s 2021 State of Remote Work Report exposed a weakness many organizations possess: 81% of surveyed organizations did not have a compensation strategy that incorporates any form of remote work. Let’s begin by considering what compensation approaches could be used for those opting to provide a fully remote and / or hybrid working environment. There are three common approaches to remote work compensation:

Establishing pay based on where the employees live – Using this approach allows the organization to incorporate the cost of living where the employee lives. This is a major concern for employees that live in locations with a high cost of living. They will find this approach beneficial as it guarantees they will at least earn a wage that will allow them to maintain their current living conditions. A disadvantage to this approach is that staff with the same tasks / job title, but with a lower wage due to their location, may feel negatively impacted. In time, this approach can lead to low employee morale and a lack of motivation.

Establishing pay based on the location of the organization – This approach involves using the organization’s headquarters as the benchmark for base pay. Doing so could eliminate unfair pay issues as employees with similar responsibilities would have the same pay – regardless of where they are located. Organizations must keep in mind that this approach could result in talent retention issues. For example, remote workers from a high cost of living area may not be inclined to work for an organization that has its pay centered on a lower cost of living headquarters.

Establishing pay based on the national pay average – A third approach could be to use the national average as the benchmark for base pay. While using the national average seems to be a fair approach, be mindful that workers from locations of high cost of living may find themselves being paid lower than their location’s cost of living. To alleviate this, some organizations have offered a 15% to 20% premium to workers from major cities such as New York and San Francisco. This approach also means workers from rural areas may possibly gain a bump in pay if the national average is higher than the local average.

Incorporating Total Rewards into Compensation for Remote Employees

Regardless of your stance for a fully remote, hybrid, or fully in office work environment, Astron recommends constructing your compensation philosophy on Total Rewards – no matter the industry or the workforce population. Total Rewards is the combination of benefits, compensation, and other rewards that an employee receives for their work. By combining both the intrinsic and extrinsic rewards and providing transparent messaging of these rewards, employees can see the bigger picture of how the organization values their contributions.

The main purpose of a total rewards compensation strategy is to help organizations strike the perfect balance of budget constraints and organizational culture, mission, and goals. By thinking about direct and indirect forms of compensation strategically, organizations can develop more effective compensation plans that support long-term engagement goals while also making the most of available resources. With this new phase of hybrid work environments, incorporating a total rewards approach to compensation may provide the best solution for both employers and employees.

Is your organization part of the 81% that does not have a compensation plan in place that considers remote compensation? Contact us today to learn how you can update your compensation program to reflect our ever changing world.

Is your organization part of the 19% that does incorporate geography into pay? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box below!

How Total Rewards Reflects An Organization’s Culture

By: Jill Krumholz

There was a time when compensation and benefits were relatively simple and straightforward. Companies provided wages in exchange for employee time and effort, and some sweetened the deal with insurance benefits such as health, life, and long-term disability. Over time, the competition to attract and retain a dedicated, productive workforce has driven employers to rethink the perquisites (perks) they offer.

This reevaluation led many to adopt a Total Rewards strategy, and the changes in workforce management in recent years has made the concept of Total Rewards even more relevant. 

A company’s culture – who it is and its values – plays a significant role in identifying the Total Rewards components that speak to an organization’s workforce and drive success, for both the business and individuals. Creativity is the key to a cutting edge Total Rewards program.

In this article, we will introduce the idea of Total Rewards and discuss how such a focus can shape and reinforce your culture.

Total Rewards is a Holistic Approach to Employee Recognition

Total Rewards takes a broader and more comprehensive view of compensation, extending beyond wages and health insurance, to address all facets of an employee’s life – work-related as well as personal. 

The approach recognizes that employees value more than a paycheck. They appreciate and in many instances expect companies to reward their service in ways that support all aspects of their lives with both direct and indirect compensation. Additionally, more workers are pressing employers to stand up as good corporate citizens and address current challenges facing society. One way many organizations address these concerns is with original Total Rewards designs. 

Distinguishing Direct and Indirect Compensation

Total Rewards programs encompass both direct and indirect forms of compensation. Direct compensation refers to the cash paid to employees for the work they perform. Direct compensation seems straight forward, but there is more to this category than just base pay. Bonuses, commissions, stock options, profit sharing, and other monetary earnings fall into this category. 

Indirect compensation is everything else.This broad concept is limited only by legal parameters, corporate budget, and the levers that drive an organization’s overall compensation strategy. Some standard perks that fall under this umbrella include health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans (pension and 401(k)), but any non-monetary “extra” conferred is an indirect benefit.

The Flexibility of Indirect Benefits

In recent years, we have seen an explosion in the innovative ways companies attract, retain, and recognize their employees. In the most effective programs, Total Rewards offerings mirror the company’s values, mission, and overall culture. 

A company’s catalog of indirect benefits speaks volumes about who they are, where they are going, and how they want to get there. They inform applicants prior to the interview stage, thus attracting candidates who value the culture and direction of the organization. Once on board, indirect benefits greatly impact employee commitment and morale.  

Examples of indirect benefits that extend beyond paid time off and insurance coverages include:

  • Flexible work schedules 
    • Hybrid
    • Remote
    • Compressed workweeks (i.e., 4-day workweek)
  • Employee assistance programs supporting mental health needs
  • Wellness benefits, such as gym memberships
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Child and elder care 
  • Sabbaticals to pursue work and non-work related interests
  • Student loan repayment

This list could go on and on. Each organization needs to reflect on their unique situation and devise a comprehensive Total Rewards strategy that dovetails with their business goals and the characteristics of their employee population. 

Building a Total Rewards Program Aligned with Your Company Goals, Culture, and Workforce

Whether updating your current program or migrating to a Total Rewards model, how you decide to appreciate and recognize your employees should tie back to your organization’s mission and values – what the company aims to accomplish in the world at large and how it appreciates and recognizes the people who help get it there. 

By reflecting on these big picture themes, companies can then distill those drivers into actionable items. By identifying meaningful formal and informal offerings, employers can craft tangible Total Rewards strategies that support those goals and evidence their corporate cultures. 

Balancing Corporate Interests and Employee Expectations

The better an organization understands who it is (or wants to be) and the traits that make its workforce unique, the more effectively it can integrate that knowledge into a dynamic Total Rewards design. To be successful, Total Rewards components must always align with corporate objectives and budgets, but they must also match the specific makeup of a company’s workforce. 

What motivates manufacturing facility employees may not be successful in an office setting. Similarly, younger workforces may be focused on career pathing, education and development opportunities, wealth accumulation, and childcare alternatives, while seasoned workforces may be looking for assistance with elder care, college preparation for their high school aged children, and retirement planning and transitioning.  

Synergies with Other Human Resources Initiatives

Total Rewards factors into a number of Human Resources policies, with indirect benefits being the backbone of many initiatives. Recruitment, performance management, recognition programs, and diversity, equity and inclusion are only a few of the HR programs that a strong Total Rewards approach enhances. 

Here are some examples where Total Rewards adds value:

  • In addition to a competitive salary and bonus, unique and broader thinking indirect benefits may help with talent recruitment by differentiating your company from the competition
  • Targeted, indirect benefits, such as company cars for field sales representatives, may improve engagement and productivity as part of innovative recognition programs
  • Performance management programs utilizing unique and specific incentives may increase employee productivity and engagement by focusing on what motivates particular groups or individual employees
  • Ensuring equitable distribution and access to benefits reinforces a company’s commitment to value all employees equally and create a welcoming, comfortable, and innovative work environment
  • Flexible work arrangements, such as remote options or work sharing, may result in higher retention and engagement rates

While wages are always the starting point for compensation discussions, today, applicants and employees require broad rewards packages that recognize their financial needs, personal interests, and address important societal issues. This expectation places a value on indirect compensation as never before seen, and it is through an inventive application of indirect compensation that a company’s culture and values can shine through – not only to employees but the greater marketplace. 

If you need assistance reviewing your existing compensation strategy and designing an effective Total Rewards program, we encourage you to contact us at RealHR. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs and help you reach your desired goals. 

What is Personal Information in Data Privacy?

Data Privacy regulations require that we protect the privacy of people whose data we collect.

So, what does that mean?

Book your Free Data Consultation

Transcript below:

“While the specific data that needs to be protected does vary depending on the specific regulation, there are some general concepts and guidelines that can be helpful, especially if you are getting started.

First of all, data privacy regulations apply to the data or information that we collect about people.

People can be donors, volunteers, newsletter sign-ups, or our employees. 

Any people.

Personal information falls into a few general categories.

First, there is Personal Identifying Information or PII.

Some examples of PII include… name, address, email, phone, birthday – other, types of identifiers can also include geolocation, IP address 

Next, we have sensitive information —in the US, that’s social security, passport, health records, credit card, financial records. 

Sensitive information comes with added levels of risk — potential harm to the individual — if it is compromised. 

GDPR, the EU privacy law includes religious beliefs, ethnicity, sexuality, political opinions, union membership, and other items in what it terms as “special categories”.

So, these are common examples of personal information. 

This chart is a resource, which is available to you 

It provides a starting point for understanding what’s “personal information”. 

Definitions of personal information vary depending on the locality and the regulation. Check the text of the specific regulation for details.  

Knowing what you have is the essential first step in identifying your organization’s privacy risks.”

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How To Compete for Top Talent And Retain Your More Valuable Employees

Featuring Our Guest Speakers: Ed Probst, Jennifer Loftus, & Matthew Thompson
We have put together a panel of experts to help you navigate the issues you are facing regarding obtaining and keeping talent.
This panel discussion will cover:
– How you can become an Employer of choice
– How to ensure your pay rates are retaining employees and not driving them away
– Benchmarking benefits to become more competitive in your recruiting efforts

The Power Of Collaboration

The Power Of Collaboration

Why You Should Be Collaborating with Your Friends and Colleagues in the NRH Community

When you join a community like the Nonprofit Resource Hub, you do it with the intent to establish trusted and long-lasting relationships with the Associate Members and Nonprofit Partners, exchange ideas, give and gain support,  and grow your business. 

The business world  is competitive but when you put effort into cultivating authentic relationships with those within the community, your business can actually thrive. Whether you’re in the for profit or nonprofit sectors, competition is unavoidable, but there also exists a wellspring of opportunities to collaborate with the other members and partners in the NRH community. When you make a concerted effort to collaborate, you open your business and/or nonprofit up to new ideas, new connections, problem solving techniques, and diversifying income streams.

What does it mean to collaborate with another small business?

Regardless of your industry or size, collaboration is a great tool that will help you build your business. Typically, collaboration is businesses working together to solve problems and achieve goals that seem to be out of reach when working alone.

When you combine the expertise, perspectives and skills of the people and organizations you collaborate with, all parties involved are better able to innovate, grow, and gain support. This stands true for the for profit and nonprofit businesses.

Benefits of business collaboration can fall under the following categories:

• Physical Capital – Share resources, equipment, facilities, or raw materials.

• Human Capital – Increase employment, develop employees’ skills and knowledge, encourage staff motivation, etc.

• Intellectual Capital – Tap into combined knowledge, capabilities, skills or expertise.

• Financial Benefits – Cut costs by sharing resources, bidding for larger contracts, etc.

But exactly how does it work?

Business Development: Collaboration helps small businesses compete with larger brands by combining knowledge, resources, consumer reach and technology. Both collaborating businesses will thrive as a result of their combined efforts to help one another. Through collaboration, you can achieve mutual growth, and will benefit from teamwork.

Expand Your Network: Collaborating with another business provides you the opportunity to develop a broader network than your business has on its own. When you collaborate with another business you present as a team, form alliances and reach new audiences.

Appeal To Grantmakers and Funders: When nonprofit organizations collaborate, they are joining forces to solve a problem. By bringing your skills, talent, and resources together, you are helping the process move at a faster rate and you are able to work more efficiently with your teams. This is an appeal to grantmakers and funders, as they are able to sooner see the results of the projects they fund and analyze the metrics of those investments. This can help ensure greater funding in the future for all of the nonprofits participating in the collaboration.

Inspire Innovation:  Collaboration is the spark that ignites  innovation because everyone brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, approaches, experiences and ideas to the table. Working together and honoring those differences opens the door to new ideas through instituting those unique perspectives. Collaboration inspired constant innovation. If you don’t innovate in today’s highly competitive marketplace, your business won’t be sustainable.

Share Knowledge: One of the biggest benefits of collaboration is the opportunity to learn and share  knowledge. Every interaction you have with someone outside of your own immediate circle can teach you something valuable. Some of the most fruitful business collaborations include two or more professionals who bring different perspectives, skill sets and knowledge to the table.

When you collaborate you can capitalize on the resources, knowledge, ideas and skills of others. Having a broader understanding of other areas and business practices can feed into your own decision-making processes and day-to-day business activities.

Solve Problems: Try to recall a recent challenge you encountered in your business. Did you reach out to a mentor, a partner, or some other trusted resource to get some guidance? When you collaborate with another business, you have a pool of people working on problems who can offer ideas to best solve the problem. By adding a new perspective from those you collaborate with, you often get results in the outcome going beyond what you expected to achieve.

The Takeaway

Collaboration is an integral part of building your relationships, your brand, and your business. Those on the receiving end of your collaboration are benefitting by having access to more resources, skills, and pool of talent. Through collaboration, you can achieve mutual growth, expand your networks, build your client list, and your brand. As a member of the NRH community, you are provided with the best talent, resources, and opportunities to work with others within the community to grow your business. Take advantage of those offerings and make the investment in building your relationships with the NRH community. The opportunities await.