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Building trend lines

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Articles - October 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012

This year marks the fourth annual survey to determine the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon. With four years and the responses of 22,000 nonprofit worker surveys under our belt, we can now see trend lines taking shape. The biggest one is that there has been very little change in what is important to those who work in Oregon’s nonprofit section. Our survey asked nonprofit employees and volunteers to rank their satisfaction with and the importance of 25 workplace qualities. (For details, go to oregon100best.com.)

What is most important to those who work in Oregon’s nonprofit sector? This year, as it was last year, the top answer among our five survey categories was work environment, followed by the categories of mission and goals, management and communications, career development and, in last place, benefits and compensation.

What is most satisfying to nonprofit workers? The No. 1 answer for the past four years has been work environment, followed closely by mission and goals.

Where is satisfaction lowest? In all four years, the top answer was opportunities for increase in pay and benefits, which is not all that surprising. What is interesting is that the second lowest area of satisfaction is timely discipline and termination for poor performance. That was more irksome than lack of opportunities for promotion or fairness of compensation issues.

What, specifically, is most important? Treatment by supervisors was the top answer in 2011 and 2012, followed by pride and belief in the organization, work/life flexibility, teamwork and fun, and open and clear communication.

What, specifically, is most satisfying? Fairness for differing racial, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age and economic groups was No. 1 for the past two years, followed by pride and belief in the organization, work/life flexibility, progress of mission and purpose.

Our 100 Best workplace surveys, which employees answer anonymously and are administered by us at no cost to the organization, are the largest and most long-standing in the state. The information we gather and publish about what it takes to be a great workplace is invaluable to the businesses in Oregon. In 2013 the granddaddy, the 100 Best Companies project, turns 20. There is still time to sign up at oregon100best.com. Send research editor Brandon Sawyer a note at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you haven’t already. Every company can learn and grow from this process.

Robin Doussard


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