TechNow 2018

The 15th anniversary of the TechNow Conference took place on Wednesday, October 3 and was a great success! We are extremely grateful for all of our sponsors, especially our headline sponsor, Microsoft, which allowed us to offer tiered pricing for TechNow starting as low as $25.  We also want to thank our keynote speaker, Lucy Bernholz, Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University.

If you missed the conference and would like to hear Lucy’s dynamic keynote presentation, you’re in luck! The keynote is available via video on the TechNow website, as well as conference materials from many of the breakout sessions, with more being added every day. It’s the next best thing to being there!

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BCNM proudly introduces the BNY Mellon “Ready to Compete” project

The BNY Mellon Ready to Compete project helps build a stronger future for our regional nonprofit community. Ready to Compete will address two key areas of nonprofit management – finance and human resource (HR) management – with the goal of equipping participant organizations with specific solutions to their most urgent challenges in these areas.

Like all work at the Bayer Center, this program will employ best practices and be custom to each organization. Thanks to the generosity of BNY Mellon, the cost of these engagements valued at $6,500 are just $500 per organization.

Applications to participate will be available on November 26. If you would like to receive an application, please email Carrie Richards at richardsc@rmu.edu.

A thoughtful application and selection process will ensure selection of organizations to create a cohort ready to make full use of the expertise offered.  Consultants will work carefully to identify the most significant challenges and put the right tools and team to work to resolve it. Each agency in the cohort will begin by completing a comprehensive assessment and be provided consulting support to analyze the findings of the assessment. One or two urgent issues will be identified and resolved by our consulting team. The product of each engagement will be a roadmap of the particular issues facing the agency, ordered in priority, and a concrete solution to one or two of the most urgent.

Since we also believe in peer learning to lessen the isolation endemic to small organizations, each cohort will convene twice to share their lessons learned and to forge relationships.

Possible issues in finance may include

  • Developing a cost-centered budget
  • Better management of cash flow
  • Creating necessary internal controls
  • Assessing financial risks and equipping the board to provide proper oversight
  • Working with board and staff to review annual audits and 990s

Possible issues in HR may include:

  • Developing a performance management system that fosters values and culture
  • Writing job descriptions, screening and interview guidelines
  • Compensation studies
  • Guidance to boards facing executive transition

The outcome of this investment will be twenty-five more capable, stable organizations that are equipped to deliver high quality services because their internal house is in better order. In short, this program will help to insure that these agencies are Ready to Compete!

The 2019 Wage and Benefit Survey needs your participation!

Since 2002, The Wage & Benefit Survey of Southwestern Pennsylvania Nonprofit Organizations has provided the most current data about regional salary and benefits, needed both for valid decision-making and 990 compliance. Additionally, it sparked the “74%” and “What Now?” conversations which have helped to improve equity for the nonprofit workforce.

Your willingness to provide information makes this sector-wide resource possible. The survey will be available for purchase in January 2019, OR you can receive a copy for FREE if you take part! Start the survey now!

The submission deadline is Friday, November 9. All information is held in the strictest confidence, viewed only by our independent consultants. Questions? Contact Dr. Carrie Tancraitor at tancraitor@rmu.edu or 412-397-6003. If you are NOT the party who should complete the Wage & Benefit survey, please forward to the appropriate person in your organization.

Thank you in advance for your commitment to the nonprofit sector and your participation in this important survey.

The link to the questionnaire supplies the following information on the first page:
1.  An Excel file for the compensation portion
2.  A PDF list of jobs
3.  A PDF list of job descriptions
4.  A PDF survey glossary

Putting Pay Equity into Practice

Ten years ago, BCNM began research that was eventually released as “74% – Exploring the lives of Women in Nonprofit Organizations”.  One of the primary findings was a gap in salaries between female and male executives, particularly in organizations with an annual budget over 7 million.  Women executives, we learned, were earning approximately 74 cents for every dollar that was paid to men.  While this study revealed trends on the executive level, there are similar national and international trends in wage inequity for a variety of groups – ranging from people of color to people with disabilities.

The latest iteration of BCNM’s biannual wage and benefits survey indicated that the pay gap originally identified had significantly decreased – now the earning gap was 81 cents on the dollar.  It’s great news, but also begs new questions – what was going on behind the scenes that made the change?   Perhaps board members were making time to consider the list of HR questions that BCNM generated.  Possibly they were also making some changes in hiring or promotion practices.

What kind of actual, on-the-ground hiring practices lead to equitable pay? A few years ago, Vu Le of Ranier Valley Corps wrote a blog post naming the disclosure of salary ranges as a way to promote equity, both with new hires and inside of the organization.  One of the points of the post was women and others who often find themselves paid less than the industry average get caught in a cycle if new salaries are based on incremental upticks on past, discriminatory salaries. Furthermore, Vu argued, time is a privilege. It’s harder for lower-earning but highly qualified people to spend their time angling for jobs that they can’t ultimately afford to take. The comment section lit up with relief on his perspective and stories of past frustrations.  Some states have been considering the same idea for the same reasons and nine have currently enacted legislation banning employers from asking about salary history (Pittsburgh bans salary history questions, but only for City positions).

However, executive director searches are located with the board of trustees, not HR.  Will salary disclosure work towards equity in these cases? Susan Egmont, a search consultant in Boston and a friend of BCNM, feels that many boards approach hiring a new director the way that people approach buying houses.  They may have a fixed budget and set of most desirable qualities in mind at the start, but the search itself often educates them about a reasonable salary given the market as well as highlight criteria that weren’t originally on their radar.  In those cases, publishing a wage range at the start of a search may discourage qualified, diverse applicants from applying.  Wage equity in hiring at the top level, in her experience, is promoted by a diverse set of people and perspectives on the board, as well as a collective understanding of what the job is worth.

There is no one practice that can eliminate wage discrimination within organizations.  BCNM’s research indicated that larger organizations where there was a woman board chair and a woman executive, there was even greater wage inequity.  This gives some indication of the complexity of the issue, and the way that cultural practices and assumptions have generational impacts.

In considering whether disclosing salary ranges for open positions and prohibiting questions on salary history can be a tool for equity in your organization, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we hire a number of people with the same job description, or do we write customized job descriptions for each new hire? (it’s easier to implement this policy when you have standard job descriptions)
  • What information do we currently provide about our compensation policies to existing staff?
  • How can we educate ourselves on the market before we publish our posting?

Equity can be explored both as an art and a science.  We need creativity as well as ongoing, intentional testing to reach the dollar for dollar mark.

Interested in creating more transparency and equitable salary distributions in your organization? BCNM consultants may be able to help.  Contact loucks@rmu.edu for more information. 

Critical Strategies for Fundraising Success: Join us on June 27!

This interactive and intensive session will explore four mainstays of fundraising success: leadership, systems, case, and donors. Participants will learn how to develop a fundraising board, manage top donors, identify new donors, prepare a poignant one-page case for support, and build relationships that will lead to long-term fundraising success.

Along with step-by-step instruction for implementing each strategy, you’ll get tips, tricks and templates that can be used each year to set up your fundraising program for success.

Instructor: Emma Gilmore Kieran, Pilot Peak Consulting
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)
Register online today, or call Shelby at 412-397-6000 to register over the phone.

If You Cannot Find a Local Community, DIY It!

By guest author Rebekah Jenkins, Director of Operations, Grow Pittsburgh. For more information about the Peer Operations Network, email Rebekah: rebekah@growpittsburgh.org.


“What you do today can improve all of your tomorrows”
Ralph Marston

I absolutely adore nonprofits. I love how they are mission-driven and are built on serving others. I’ve worked for nonprofits in some capacity for the last 18 years. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that many of these small organizations are not always fully staffed. Sometimes there’s not enough money for everything and people are forced to wear many hats. This much has been true in the previous positions I’ve held at nonprofits and it is still true in my current role as Director of Operations for Grow Pittsburgh.

Operations work has never been ‘sexy’ but it has always been vital to every organization, no matter the industry. Operations work is needed to keep programs work moving, but the level of support for operations staff never seems to be as accessible as it is for program-centered employees or high-level leadership. For a long time I searched for a support system…a group of individuals who do the same kind of work that I do, and who understand what it means to be a nonprofit operations professional. I had found support for the ‘accidental techie’ in me from the Bagels & Bytes group, sponsored by BCNM, but I was looking for the equivalent for my operations work. I looked around to see if someone else had started such a group – with little success. I searched and asked around and no one had heard of such a thing. Thus the Peer Operations Network was born.

I was really anxious about starting something like this. What if my request went ignored? What if I was the only one who was dealing with these issues? How did everyone else find their support system??

I started by sending messages on LinkedIn and Facebook, two easy and quick ways to reach real people. I figured it was an easy way to organize folks around this topic. When I first sent out the message only a few people responded. One of those people was Robert Young from Simpson McCrady Insurance. He responded with a desire to support this work, after having spent some of his career in nonprofits as well, and offered to help recruit and supply an important need for each of our meetings: FOOD.

Between the two of us we brainstormed and came up with some names and/or organizations that we thought would benefit from these meetings. Slowly, individuals in the area who held the roles of Operations Coordinator all the way up to Chief Operations Officer responded with a desire to hear more from other professionals doing operations work and how they helped their organizations run more efficiently.

We’ve now held several of these monthly meetings and our numbers keep growing! We’ve discussed a variety of topics such as how to pick an auditor, how to handle sensitive documents and best practices for storing documents in the cloud. I’ve learned so much and I find pleasure in knowing that there are other people in the Pittsburgh area who do what I do and have the same needs that I have. I am know thoroughly convinced that having the willingness to step out of your comfort zone any day can improve all of your tomorrows.

#Time’sUp for the Nonprofit Gender Gap

Join Top Nonprofits for a roundtable webinar about the future of women in nonprofits on Thursday, May 17 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We’ll discuss the challenges women face today and how each of us can create, support, and champion equity, access, and inclusion for all members of the nonprofit community, featuring the Bayer Center’s own Consultant and Researcher, Dr. Carrie Tancaitor.

Register online today! 

PANELISTS: