In partnership with
Find out about eligibility requirements, benefits of participation and the schedule of our free nonprofit workplace survey.
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Survey Rules and Guidelines
Eligibility and Participation Requirements
1. The survey is open to:
- 501(c) organizations and foundations
- Government agencies
- Professional associations and chambers
- Hospitals and health plans/systems
- Universities, community colleges, schools, districts
- Religious groups and charities
2. There is no cost to participate in the survey or appear in the 100 Best Nonprofits list.
3. Participating organizations may be headquartered anywhere.
4. The project consists of two online surveys:
- An anonymous employee survey (click here to see questions)
- A confidential employer survey of benefits and workplace practices. (click here to see questions)
5. Participating organizations must have a minimum of 10 permanent Oregon-based employees (full or part-time) and/or volunteers who work at least 20 hours per month. Organizations are not required to invite their eligible volunteers to participate — it is optional. The executive director/president is not allowed to particpate.
6. A minimum of 10 permanent employees and/or volunteers, or 10% of the eligible workforce, whichever is greater, must complete the employee survey.
7. The employee survey measures satisfaction and importance of 31 workplace qualities in six categories: work environment; management and communications; mission and goals; career development and learning; benefits and compensation; and sustainable practices (used only for 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon list).
8. The employee survey is available in Spanish and as mail-in hard copy (more than 100 hard-copy surveys incurs a data-entry fee).
9. A management representative, familiar with organization’s benefits and practices, must complete the online employer survey.
10. Nonprofits are scored and ranked as follows:
- The Employee Survey (excluding Sustainable Practices) counts for 5/6 of a nonprofit’s overall score.
- The Employer Survey (also excluding Sustainable Practices), counts for the remaining 1/6 of the score.
- Qualifying 100 Best Nonprofit participants will automatically be considered for our 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon list, published in June 2017, based on answers to the Sustainable Practices sections of the employee and employer surveys.
Benefits of Participation
1. Free to participate: There is no charge to take part in the survey.
2. Honest feedback: Management and board gain valuable insight about their organization from those on the front lines in a free report that details workplace strengths and weaknesses. Premium reports that provide employee write-in comments, benchmark comparisons and benefits analysis are also available.
3. Easy and convenient: Employees and volunteers, if applicable, may take the survey online from any computer with Internet access or on paper in English or Spanish. A management representative coordinates communications with workers and Oregon Business.
4. Dialogue with employees: Employees and volunteers, if applicable, get a unique chance to voice their opinions confidentially about a wide variety of workplace aspects and are impressed when it’s acknowledged.
5. Scientific selection: Oregon Business does not subjectively select winners and the best-known organizations have no advantage.
6. Higher morale and efficiency: Survey reports provide opportunities to further the dialogue with employees and set priorities for workplace improvement.
7. The List: The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For are honored in the October issue of Oregon Business, distributed statewide to 20,000 subscribers. The list is also accessible online at www.oregonbusiness.com. (Participants will also be considered for our 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon list, published in June 2017, based on answers to the Sustainable Practices sections of the survey.)
8. Event and honors: We celebrate the contribution of the nonprofit sector to the state’s business and employment community. Listed organizations are honored at a dinner event. The top 10 nonprofits receive trophies. All 100 Best Nonprofits receive an award certificate and have access to logos and other promotional materials following the event. These can be used on letterhead, websites, etc.
9. Employee attraction and retention: Highly qualified job candidates seek out openings at 100 Best Nonprofits and it reinforces the pride and satisfaction of current employees to work for a 100 Best Nonprofit.
Mid-April to mid-June: Nonprofits register online for the survey at oregonbusiness.com.
Information needed: Organization address and contact person, Oregon senior executive, number of paid employees in Oregon/worldwide, number of volunteers in Oregon working 20 or more hours per month, number of board members, type of organization, IRS tax code, description of services.
Mid-April to late June: Nonprofits invite their qualified employees and volunteers (optional) to participate in the anonymous online survey. Nonprofits are encouraged to compress the employee survey to a shorter time span.
By late June: Management representative of the nonprofit completes the online employer survey.
JULY: Qualifying nonprofits are informed whether or not they are on the 100 Best list, and those participants may order a free overview of survey results, or a more detailed report for a fee.
LATE SEPTEMBER: The 100 Best Nonprofits are honored at a dinner event and featured in the October issue of Oregon Business.
Employee Survey Rules
The survey consists of 31 statements divided into six workplace categories. Employees rate the statements in terms of satisfaction and importance. Volunteers working at least 20 hours per month may also participate in the survey (at your organization's discretion) but do not complete the Benefits and Compensation section. It also has six optional demographic questions, and two open-ended questions for written comments. Nonprofits are scored for October's 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon based on the average satisfaction rating for each of the first 20 statements. Ratings for the last 11 statements, the Sustainable Practices section, are used to help determine the rankings for the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon, published in June 2017.
Rules and guidelines
• Invite all permanent Oregon employees, except the executive director/president, to take the survey and, if your organization wishes to, volunteers who work at least 5 hours per week / 20 hours per month. Temporary workers are not permitted to take the survey.
• Do not select a sample or subgroup of employees/volunteers to take the survey.
• Do not demand or imply in any communication with employees/volunteers that they should provide positive responses, nor suggest that nonprofit’s inclusion on the 100 Best list is important or necessary to an employees'/volunteers' success.
• Do ensure that employees/volunteers know the survey is entirely confidential and anonymous.
• Each employee/volunteer may complete only one survey.
• Encourage permanent employees in all departments and compensation levels (hourly, supervisory, senior management, etc.) to participate.
• A minimum of 10 employees and/or qualified volunteers (if applicable) or 10% of this workforce, whichever is greater, must complete the survey.
• The employee survey counts for 5/6 of the total 100 Best Nonprofits score.
• Feel free to compress your survey period to a shorter time span than the full survey period.
• Submit all online and hard-copy surveys by late June deadline.
Employee surveys via the Web:
Encourage employees and volunteers (if applicable) to complete the survey online. They may do so on any computer with Internet access, at work or home. If they do not normally have access to the Internet, consider setting up computer kiosks and providing breaks for them to take the survey.
1. Distribute via email, bulletin or employee-only Intranet site the survey code and link provided in your 100 Best instructions to all Oregon employees and qualified volunteers (if applicable). Do not reveal your survey code outside of your organization.
2. You may customize the sample e-mail/memo text (see below) to distribute to employees/volunteers, informing them about the 100 Best survey.
3. After accessing the link and entering your nonprofit's name, the survey will take employees/volunteers about 10 minutes to complete.
4. If an employee/volunteer quits the survey midway through, he/she should retake it.
5. You will receive weekly e-mail updates from our 100 Best project manager indicating the number of employee surveys that have been successfully completed at your nonprofit.
Sample e-mail/memo to employees/volunteers:
TO: All Oregon employees [and volunteers who work at least 20 hours per month (OPTIONAL)]
SUBJECT: Rate our organization in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For survey.
We want to know what you think!
[NONPROFIT NAME] is taking part in the survey for Oregon Business magazine’s 2017 list of the 100 Nonprofits Best to Work For in Oregon.
We encourage you to express your honest views about [NONPROFIT NAME] on a comprehensive set of workplace aspects in the 100 Best employee survey. Your participation, and the answers you provide, will be strictly anonymous and confidential. We hope that all employees [and volunteers] from every department and location in Oregon voice their candid opinions in this survey.
Each employee [and qualified volunteer] may complete just one survey. It takes about 10 minutes, and can be completed from any computer — at work or home. Simply go to the 100 Best Nonprofits survey link [INSERT LINK] and enter our survey code: [ENTER SURVEY CODE HERE]. Please note: your responses are not saved until you reach the last page of the survey. The deadline is [DEADLINE].
After the survey is complete, we will receive survey results that may help us find ways to improve job satisfaction, productivity and performance throughout [NONPROFIT NAME].
Surveys for employees/volunteers without Web access:
We urge all employees/volunteers with Web access to take the survey online. However, employees/volunteers who do not have access to a computer, or cannot access the Web, may complete a hard-copy printed version of the employee survey.
2. We will e-mail you an PDF version of the survey to print, copy and distribute to any employees/volunteers who do not have access to the Web.
3. Provide employees/volunteers with pre-stamped envelopes or collect surveys anonymously and return them to:
Oregon Business magazine
715 SW Morrison, Suite 800
Portland, OR 97205
Rules about hard-copy employee surveys:
• Employee surveys that you collect and return to Oregon Business are strictly confidential. Do not read them or write any identifying information (such as employee name, department, etc.) on surveys before distributing them or after collecting them.
• Because hard-copy surveys entail significant data-entry cost, organizations that submit more than 100 hard-copy surveys will be charged a handling fee of $50 for every 50 surveys processed beyond the initial 100.
• Please encourage as many employees/volunteers as possible to complete their surveys online.
• All hard-copy employee surveys must be received by late June deadline.
Spanish employee survey:
The survey is available in Spanish in hard-copy form. Spanish-speaking employees/volunteers may refer to it as they complete the survey online or fill it out it according to the rules listed above for the English hard-copy survey. The survey is not currently available in any other languages.
2. We will e-mail you an PDF version of the survey to print, copy and distribute to Spanish-speaking employees/volunteers.
3. Provide employees/volunteers with pre-stamped envelopes or collect surveys anonymously and return them to:
Oregon Business magazine
715 SW Morrison, Suite 800
Portland, OR 97205
Employer Benefits Survey Rules
A nonprofit representative familiar with your organization’s employment and benefits policies, as well as its sustainable practices, should complete the benefits (or employer) survey. It takes about 30 minutes.
Facts to be ready with before you take the survey online:
• Health, dental and disability insurance coverage
• Percentage of health plan premiums paid for employees and their family members
• Number of holidays, vacation days, sick leave or paid-time-off (PTO) granted after 1 year and maximum years of employment
• Flex-time and community service policies
• Benefits for maternity/paternity leave, adoption, child and elder care
• Amount of employer contributions to Section 125 flexible-spending plans for dependent care and medical expenses
• Transportation benefits
• Retirement plan details, including employer contributions to tax-qualified plans
• Tuition reimbursement and sabbatical policies
• Percentages of senior managers who are women and ethnic minorities
• Non-discrimination policies
• Organization's sustainable and environmental business practices
For more specific information, view the benefits survey questions.
Rules and guidelines:
• Answer each question as it applies to the majority of your employees in Oregon.
• Avoid clicking “continue” until you are certain of your answers. If you page back to change the answer to a question, click “continue” again in order for the new answer to register.
• The employer survey counts for 1/6 of a nonprofit’s total 100 Best score.
1. Review the benefits survey checklist above and/or the benefits survey questions and gather necessary information.
2. Access the survey online (link provided by e-mail).
3. Enter your contact information.
4. Answer all applicable questions until you reach the final page thanking you for taking the survey.
5. Within a week after submission, you will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of your completed survey.
6. The benefits survey is due by late June deadline.
Employee Survey Questions
The survey is divided into five sections with a total of 20 statements, 11 Sustainable Practices statements for our 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon survey, an optional demographic section and two open-ended questions.
Online, the sections and statements will be appear in random order.
For each statement, employees/volunteers rate:
• Satisfaction with the performance of their organization in that area.
• How important that particular item is to their overall satisfaction.
• Flexibility to balance family, community and job obligations
• Equity for differing racial, gender, sexual-orientation, ability, age and economic groups
• Teamwork, cooperation and fun at work
• Quality and efficiency of physical workspace, tools and equipment
Management and communications
• Treatment by supervisors and management
• Open and clear communications with diverse groups within organization
• Timely discipline and termination for poor performance
• Rewards and acknowledgement for top performance
Mission and goals
• Progress of mission and purpose
• Trust in management and/or Board decisions
• Employee involvement in decision-making
• Pride and belief in the organization
Career development and learning
• On-the-job training
• Support for off-site education and training
• Opportunities to grow and stay challenged
• Opportunities for equitable promotion and advancement
Benefits and compensation
(This section will be omitted for volunteers)
• Health and wellness plan quality, options and cost
• Retirement plan options and employer contribution
• Paid time off and leave benefits
• Opportunities for increases in pay and benefits that are equitably offered to all employees
(Used to determine our 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon, published in the June issue)
• Sustainability as part of the organization’s mission
• Efforts to incorporate sustainability ethics into organization's services and products
• Rewards and recognition of employee efforts toward sustainability goals
• Measurement of progress toward sustainability and sharing of results
• Workplace recycling of paper, glass, metals, packaging and other materials
• Conservation of water, such as low-flow plumbing fixtures and native-plant landscaping
• Waste reduction, such as composting, reuse of materials, and minimal packaging
• Efforts to use non-toxic, natural materials
• Support for travel alternatives such as public transit, carpools, telecommuting, walking and bicycling
• Workplace practice of energy conservation, such as turning off unused equipment and use of compact- fluorescent/LED bulbs and high efficiency appliances
• Organization’s practice of buying local for materials, food, etc.
Optional demographic information
• Job level or function
• Years you have worked with your present employer
• Highest education degree earned
• Racial or ethnic group
Additional (written) comments
• What about your organization makes it great?
• What about your organization would you like to improve?
Employer Survey Questions
The confidential employer survey consists of approximately 50 questions providing a comprehensive analysis of benefits policies. Answers count for 1/6 of a participating organization's overall 100 Best score.
Health & wellness:
1. Does the organization offer a health insurance plan to employees? (Yes/No)
2. If yes, what percentage of the employee's premium does the employer pay? (% or NA)
3. Can employees cover their spouse and children? (Yes/No)
4. If employees can cover a spouse and children, what percentage of the premium for these family members does the employer pay? (% or NA)
5. Does the organization offer dental insurance? (Yes and employer pays at least half of premium/Yes but employee pays most of premium/Not offered)
6. Coverage for vision? (Yes and employer pays at least half of premium/Yes but employee pays most of premium/Not offered)
7. Coverage for mental health care? (Yes and employer pays at least half of premium/Yes but employee pays most of premium/Not offered)
8. Coverage for alternative care (chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, etc.)? (Yes and employer pays at least half of premium/Yes but employee pays most of premium/Not offered)
9. Does the organization offer fitness and wellness programs? (Yes and employer pays at least half of cost/Yes but employee pays most of cost/Not offered)
10. Does the organization offer life insurance? (Yes and employer pays at least half of premium/Yes but employee pays most of premium/Not offered)
11. Does the organization offer short-term disability insurance? (Yes and employer pays at least half of premium/Yes but employee pays most of premium/Not offered)
12. Does the organization offer long-term disability insurance? (Yes and employer pays at least half of premium/Yes but employee pays most of premium/Not offered)
13. Does the organization offer long-term care insurance? (Yes and employer pays at least half of premium/Yes but employee pays most of premium/Not offered)
How does your organization handle vacation and sick leave?
A. Vacation and sick leave are offered separately
- • How many paid holidays do employees receive per year?
- • How many paid vacation days do employees receive after 1 year of service?
- • What is the maximum number of vacation days employees can receive? (Do not include days accrued/rolled over from prior years)
- • How many days of paid sick leave do employees receive per year?
B. Vacation and sick leave are combined in a Paid Time Off (PTO) plan
- • How many PTO days plus paid holidays do employees receive after 1 year of service?
- • What is the maximum number of PTO days plus paid holidays employees receive? (Do not include days accrued/rolled over from prior years)
C. Does not offer paid vacation
Scheduling at work:
1. Are most employees permitted to work flexible or compressed schedules? (Yes/No)
2. Are most employees permitted to telecommute or work from home? (Yes/No)
3. Are employees granted paid time off for volunteer community service? (Yes/No)
4. Can employees donate paid time off to other employees in need? (Yes/No)
1. Do employees receive paid maternity leave beyond short-term disability or paid time off? (Yes/No)
2. Do employees receive paid paternity leave beyond short-term disability or paid time off? (Yes/No)
3. Does the organization provide financial assistance for the adoption of a child? (Yes/No)
4. Does the organization subsidize employees' child care expenses or provide child care on-site? (Yes/No)
5. Do employees have the opportunity to set aside pre-tax income in a cafeteria-style Section 125 flexible spending plan for qualified child care or dependent care expenses? (Yes/No)
6. If yes, does the employer contribute to the plan? (Yes/No/NA)
7. Does the organization offer a cafeteria-style Section 125 plan for unreimbursed medical, dental, or other qualified health-related expenses? (Yes/No)
8. If yes, does the employer contribute to the plan? (Yes/No/NA)
9. Does the organization subsidize employees' transportation expenses? (Yes/No)
1. Does the employer make or match contributions to the employee's tax-qualified retirement plan? (Yes/No)
2. If the employer automatically contributes regardless of employee contributions, such as with a pension plan, what percentage of employees' annual salary does the employer contribute to retirement plans? (for example, 5%)
3. If the employer matches employee deferrals to retirement plans, such as with 401Ks: a. Up to what percentage of salary will the employer match employee contributions? (for example, 3%) b. What is the rate of match on those contributions? (if 50 cents on the dollar, answer 50%; if rate is tiered or variable answer assuming that employee defers maximum)
Workforce & organizational culture:
1. Does the organization offer college tuition reimbursement to employees? (Yes/No)
2. Does the organization offer paid or unpaid sabbaticals to employees? (Paid/Unpaid/No)
3. What percentage of the organization's senior management is female?
4. What percentage of the organization's senior management is racial/ethnic minorities?
5. Does the organization have a written diversity, equity and inclusion plan? (Yes/No)
(This portion of the survey will be used to create the rankings for the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon announced in the June issue)
Please indicate to what degree your organization’s Oregon sites support and promote the following sustainable practices: (No, not at this time / Under consideration / In process / partially done / Yes, fully implemented)
1. Comprehensive sustainability policy with statement of clear goals
2. Measurement of sustainability progress and sharing results internally and externally
3. Employee rewards and recognition for efforts toward sustainability goals
4. Recycling of paper, glass, metals, packaging and other materials
5. Water conservation, such as low-flow plumbing and native-plant landscaping
6. Waste reduction, such as composting, reuse of materials, and minimal packaging
7. Use of non-toxic and natural materials in products, services and in the workplace
8. Sustainable purchasing, such as renting/borrowing instead of owning and selecting products with less environmental impact
9. Alternatives to single-occupancy-vehicle commuting, such as public transit passes, carpools, telecommuting, walking and/or bicycling
10. Purchases or directly utilizes renewable power and/or carbon offsets
11. Energy efficiency and conservation, such as turning off unused equipment and using compact- fluorescent/LED bulbs and high efficiency appliances
12. Sustainable facilities, such as LEED-certified buildings, weatherizing, remodeling with recycled/green materials, installation of solar panels, use of eco-roofs, etc.
13. Environmental stewardship, such as re-planting trees, restoring natural habitat, cleaning up pollution or supporting environmental organizations
14. Buying local materials, supplies, services, etc.
15. Use of supply chain vendors and service providers who practice sustainability
16. If there is anything about your organization.s sustainability policies, not covered above, that you would like to add? (optional)
1. Please type or paste your organization's official mission statement here (optional)
2. What unique or special benefits do you offer employees and volunteers that make your organization a great place to work? (optional)
© 2016 Oregon Business magazine. This material may not be used without the express written consent of Oregon Business staff.
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