Illustration of writing an article on a laptop

ASU Lodestar Center Blog

Research and recommendations for effective, day-to-day nonprofit practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

inclusion strategies

Boards have a crucial role to play in successfully advancing inclusion strategies at nonprofits. Each nonprofit serves a unique group of people with their own distinct needs. Therefore, it is imperative that every nonprofit have leadership who are well equipped to fulfill those needs, especially their board members. Like an electrical socket, boards serve as the catalyst for transferring power from its source (the nonprofit) to its desired destination: the stakeholders. It stands to reason then, that if a board adequately represents the stakeholders of that nonprofit, it may “plug in” well to properly transfer power to its stakeholders and thereby fulfill its mission with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policy implementation. Thus, having a board that values and embodies DEI will be more successful at serving its community and advancing its mission.

Here are a few ways boards can advance inclusion strategies for success at nonprofits.

Develop a shared DEI vision

Boards need to invest time and effort to developing a shared DEI vision amongst leadership, along with shared vocabulary for what the organization believes “diversity, equity…

Read more

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

staff retention

High employee turnover rates

The independent sector has seen the highest turnover rates in the past decade than ever before. In a recent survey, over fifty percent of nonprofit leaders predict their employee turnover rates will increase in the upcoming year. (King, 2022) Turnover goes beyond affecting the functions of an organization; it impacts the financial standings, reputation with donors, and the community and creates a cycle of burnout. Turnover impacts the morale of current employees of an organization and creates an environment where it is easy to demotivate the staff. Nonprofit executives may also feel overwhelmed and decide to leave their organizations.


Tips for employee retention

In the public sector, leaders can increase staff retainment in the following ways:

  • creating an engaging workplace
  • investing in recruitment
  • providing opportunities for staff to move up within the organization
  • supporting a Human Resources Department
  • investing in training opportunities for staff
  • facilitating a diverse, collaborative team

Read more

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

financial stability

Financial sustainability is crucial to longevity and keeping the mission alive. So, what are some ways to achieve sustainability?

Look for individual donors

Seek out those individuals that have a passion for your organizations type of work and ask for a donation. Recurring gifts, even if small, are one of the best helps for sustainability. 

Go for grants

Hire a grant writer for your organization who can look for applicable grant opportunities and go after those potential grants. It often takes a long time to hear whether a grant appeal has been accepted. Acceptance of a grant may also entail complex data tracking and reporting requirements, so be prepared.

Have a fundraiser

Fundraisers can be a way to bring new potential donors into your organizations. These can be done quarterly, once a year, however you would like to do them.…

Read more

Wednesday, September 6, 2023


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies are being implemented in all sectors of society, including nonprofits. Trust in nonprofit organizations is vital to their success and very future since the foundational belief is that the nonprofit sector is here to do good. How can good be done when certain groups of people are ignored and overlooked? The communities served, the stakeholders, and employees must trust that their voices are being heard and valued. Senior leadership and directing boards should accurately reflect the communities served. Organizations that do not make the effort to invest in DEI are demonstrating a disconnect between their stated mission and their actions taken.

With some additional preparation and determination, organizations can overcome those barriers and be successful in integrating DEI deep within their core values, mission, and culture. The many benefits that come from an organization that is more diverse and genuinely inclusive, are well worth the effort and perseverance through difficulties. Increased creativity, diversified contributing perspectives, innovation, and higher productivity are difficult to argue against, but there may be employees that resist the implementation. With appropriate preparation, the agency can address those issues and continue on forward to success.

Read more

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

mental hEALTH

Employee wellness has become a bigger priority in workplaces as the understanding of the relationship between mental health and productivity continues to evolve. In the last few years, studies have demonstrated that poor mental health is associated with low productivity and high levels of burnout –a physical, emotional, and mental state of exhaustion resulting from overwhelming stress. 

Occupational burnout is recognized by the World Health Organization as a phenomenon resulting from work-related stress that has not been successfully managed.  

The nonprofit sector attracts employees that are passionate about making a difference in the world and care deeply about the wellbeing of the communities they serve.

Unfortunately, these workers seem to be more vulnerable to developing burnout. They carry the immense pressure of meeting the demand for basic needs services while juggling between heavy paperload, grant requirements, tight budgets and under-staffed teams to carry out fundraising activities and events. 

The McKinsey Health…

Read more

ASU Lodestar Center Blog