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On the Scene: OB's 100 Best Nonprofits

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On the Scene
Thursday, September 29, 2011

By Emma Hall

More than 500 people celebrated the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon last night at the Portland Downtown Hilton. The 100 Best were named by Oregon Business magazine in its third annual survey of nonprofit workplace practices.

Nearly 5,500 employees from 170 Oregon nonprofits participated in the survey that asked questions about their workplaces' benefits, fair treatment, and more. Based on the magazine’s widely regarded 100 Best Companies project, the nonprofit version was created to recognize a critical business sector that employs hundreds of thousands of workers.

“We realize nonprofits see themselves as very different from other businesses, but we also believe they have one thing very much in common: caring about their employees,” said Oregon Business Editor Robin Doussard. “So we created a workplace best-practices project just for them. We wanted nonprofits to have the insight into their workforce that the corporate world has come to value over the years.”

Oregon Business research editor Brandon Sawyer, who conducted the survey along with DHM Research, told attendees what the five survey questions were with the biggest gaps between satisfaction and importance. They included opportunities for increases in pay and benefits, and open and clear communications within the organization. "Pay close attention to these, especially within your organization’s survey report, since they show areas where you might boost morale by making changes to reduce such gaps," Sawyer said.

At the event, nonprofit workers explained why they loved their job. Despite the many differences in nonprofits, all had the same answer--they just loved the people they worked with, which made going to work a joy.

Attendees watched a video that went behind the scenes at some of the top workplaces. Cheers were heard when guests recognized their friends, like Laurie Davis from the Macdonald Center or John Blake at Outside In. If you missed the event, you can view the video online.

At the event, the top 10 nonprofits, divided into small, medium and large categories, received trophies on stage . Guests heard about what makes each nonprofit special, like having a dog under your desk at Child Care Development Services--the perfect reminder to get up from the computer once in a while for a walk--or the book club that Ronald McDonald House Charities employees participate in.

Nonprofits took the stage to accept their honor, with emotions running the gamut from kissing to tears.

The Top 3 Best Small Nonprofits were:

  1. Child Care Development Services; Gresham
  2. Oregon Environmental Council; Portland
  3. Workforce Investment Council of Clackamas County; Oregon City

The Top 3 Best Medium Nonprofits were:

  1. Full Access; Eugene
  2. Ronald McDonald House Charities of OR/SW Wash.; Portland
  3. Adelante Muejeres; Forest Grove

The Top 4 Best Large Nonprofits were:

  1. Oregon Research Institute; Eugene
  2. REACH Community Development; Portland
  3. Mary's Woods at Marylhurst; Lake Oswego
  4. Oregon Gymnastics Academy; Beaverton

A gallery of images from the event will be viewable at Oregon100Best.com, and please feel free to add your own photos from the event to the Oregon Business Facebook page. We'd love to see them.

Don't miss the complete list of 2011's 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon.

Emma Hall is web editor for Oregon Business.

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