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Nonprofit Leadership Training Series (video): Episode 4 of 21 - Quality People (part 4 of 3)

Updated: Apr 24

You'll learn 7 tactics on how to retain the quality "A" players (people) you bring on (staff, board, and volunteers) at your nonprofit: respected leadership, engagement, praise and gratitude, benefits, professional development, and more.

Intended Audience:

Executives, Board Members, Staff.

About the Series:

Welcome to my Nonprofit Leadership series "How to Build a Gold Standard Nonprofit."

Whether you're a seasoned executive director, or new to the nonprofit world, this video series of 21 videos will give you a set of tools and principles (and good reminders) that will help take your staff, board, organization, to the next level of performance and impact.

The videos are short. There is no mumbo-jumbo theory, just wise advice and practical tactics you can use and apply immediately. It all comes from though lessons I've learned while building eight nonprofits over the last 20 years.

I'll be sending out one video a week. For those who want to binge on the series, or if you missed an episode, you can find them all (and more) on my YouTube Channel -- The Nonprofit Mentor.

Save These Videos

Save these emails in a folder and send them to staff once a week. Or, show one or a two at every board meeting. You can even use them when on-boarding staff, board members, or volunteers. Enjoy and Learn!


PS: You can read more high-quality leadership content in the bestselling books below. (50% off)

by Tom Iselin

“America’s Best Board Retreat Facilitator”

hi and welcome to first things first

this is day four of boot camp a leadership guide to building a

gold standard non-profit on day three i talked about how you can create filters to bring on

high quality staff board and volunteers

today i'm going to highlight a few tactics on how you can

retain the high quality people you've brought on

as i've stated before people are the most precious

non-profit commodity you only have staff board and volunteers to run your organization

they provide the resources and impact you need to fulfill your mission without people you can't do anything you can't raise money and you can't run your programs

okay let's say you've been patient and worked hard to bring on a team of a players staff board volunteers that's great but now what what are your plans to keep them a players typically know their a players if

you don't work hard to keep them they will eventually become disenchanted and leave

taking their time money skills and expertise to a non-profit down the block where it will be more valued and appreciated

if you want to keep people you need to have a plan here are seven things you

can do to keep the quality people you bring on

first you need to have respected leaders we've

all experienced the rogues CEOs and micromanaging board chair people like this shut people down

and cause them to leave

when great leaders are at the helm staff and board member retention goes up

as does motivation and productivity

if you have leaders that are not respected and admired it may

be time to consider a change of guard number two to keep good people it's important to give them a

voice people have ideas they are passionate about helping but if a few people dominate

most of the discussions and squelch the voices of others polite quietness will eventually turn into

quiet discontent and people will leave

get people to talk less listen more and ask better questions

one of the best questions you can ask to get people talking is “what do you think”?

number three if you want to keep good people around you've got to engage them a players hate being

on the sidelines they want to play and they want to play hard it's your job to match their talents

with your needs and get them into the game number four to keep good people you need to thank them

the altruist mentality is old school people might say otherwise but deep down people want

to feel valued and appreciated not only for what they do but for who they are

you can't say thank you enough make it personal do it often and be genuine when was the last time you

personally thanked your staff volunteers and board members number five people like perks one way to

retain good staff and volunteers is to provide some inexpensive perks perhaps you can throw a

party offer prizes or give your staff a flex time day take a poll and ask people what perks would

excite them then choose a few and implement them what could be simpler number six people like to do

business with people they like if you want to lose great staff and board members put them into silos

to retain great people build a team get board members out of the board room to have some fun

host a wine tasting party or combine a board meeting with a dinner

for your staff and volunteers do some fun off-site team building activities go bowling or something

and get your board and staff to do some activities together have board members help the staff with

a project have staff members join a board meeting how about hosting a board and staff meet and greet

barbecue and number seven provide professional development opportunities in this fast-paced

digital world people want to learn and keep up with the latest trends professional development

increases your nonprofit's knowledge index and keeps people happy and engaged ask your staff

volunteers and board members what they would like to learn and then make it happen remember quality

people have choices just because you've built an a team of players doesn't guarantee they're

going to stick around everybody's a free agent it's your job to keep the team intact

by making sure each player is engaged and feels valued well that's it for today if you enjoyed

the show then like it and share it and tune in next week for day five of boot camp where you'll

learn how to transform lip service passion into authentic passion until then create a great day

Tom Iselin

“America’s Best Board Retreat and Strategic Planning Facilitator”

Additional Resources:


Tom's Books, Podcasts, and YouTube Channel

Tom Iselin has built four sector-leading nonprofits and four foundations. He’s written six books, sits on six boards, and hosts a video blog and podcast. Each year, Tom speaks to more than 5,000 nonprofit leaders at conferences across the country. He is considered America's best board retreat and strategic planning facilitator and is a leading authority on high-performance nonprofits, and his impact on the industry has been featured on CNN, Nightline, and in Newsweek.

Tom is the president of First Things First, a business specializing in board development retreats, strategic planning, fundraising, executive coaching, and speaking. To relax, he loves mountain biking, hiking, skiing, tennis, and baking.

If you’re in the hunt for the best board retreat/board development facilitation, or the best strategic planning facilitation, it would be a privilege to learn more about your organization and the aspirations you hope to achieve as you work to propel your noble mission. Jot me an email to set up a meet-and-greet call.

To learn more, visit:


Looking for answers?

I’m here to help. Contact me . . ., or 858.888.2278


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