April 26, 2023

5 Research Findings on the Health of Nonprofit Workforce

In this episode, we discuss data from new research on the health of the nonprofit workforce. Our guests are Todd Butler, CEO of the nonprofit capacity-builder Causewave Community Partners, and Caitlin Fisher, who leads Causewave’s Nonprofit Talent Pipeline Project.

Over half of mid-level nonprofit staff don’t make enough to support themselves or their families. This number grows to 68% for those who work at nonprofits with budgets of less than a million dollars. This is just one of many powerful and important findings in new research about the wellbeing of the nonprofit workforce in Western New York State. How does it relate to what’s happening in your nonprofit community?

While the findings are drawn from 700+ survey responses, interviews, and focus groups of nonprofit workers in the eight county region of Western New York, the research reinforces what many across the country feel and know - that the lack of investment in nonprofit compensation, HR, and other staff support systems is a growing existential threat to the sector.

We discuss the crisis that is made starkly clear by the data. We discuss one innovative and practical resource that Causewave offered to nonprofits who attended the webinar when they released the research. And we explore Causewave’s reflections and recommendations for how funders and nonprofits can change these conditions moving forward.


Guest Bios:

Todd Butler, President and CEO, Causewave Community Partners

Todd Butler is the President and CEO of Causewave Community Partners, a post he has held since 2005. Todd leads a team of talented changemakers on their noble quest to make nonprofits stronger and communities better. Prior to joining Causewave (then called The Advertising Council of Rochester), Todd spent the majority of his career in communications roles for community-based organizations, including the Seneca Park Zoo Society and Genesee Country Village & Museum. He has also held PR and marketing roles at online market research pioneer Harris Interactive (now Harris Insights) and advertising agency The Wolf Group (now Partners + Napier), an environmental engineering firm and a daily newspaper. Todd received his Bachelor of Science in Communications from the Park School at Ithaca College and his Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College. Todd was a 40 Under 40 awardee in 2008.

Todd currently serves on the board of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Council of Agency Executives. He lives in Greece with his wife and three children. Todd’s current obsession is hiking every trail in the greater Rochester area and all 46 of the Adirondack high peaks.

Caitlin Fisher, Project Director, Nonprofit Talent Pipeline at Causewave Community Partners

Caitlin Fisher is a social impact leader passionate about developing talent pipelines, programs, and purpose driven organizations. Her work is grounded in a deep understanding of and network within the philanthropic, nonprofit, and business communities. Her past positions include nearly a decade at Swanee Hunt Alternatives, a family foundation and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Throughout her career she has been appreciated for her strategic and creative approach to program design and grantmaking and her ability to cultivate and maintain cross-sector relationships. Currently she holds dual roles as a project director at Causewave Community Partners based in Rochester, NY, where she focuses on strengthening the nonprofit talent pipeline in Western NY and as a Senior Consultant with Gallaway Consulting Group, a female led social impact design and delivery firm based in Boston.

Caitlin served on the board of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, a national network of changemakers who strive for excellence and equity in the practice of philanthropy. Prior to that, she led the Boston Chapter for five years and then transitioned to serve a four year national board term including driving a strategic planning process which shifted the mission, vision, and values to include both excellence and equity in the field of philanthropy.

Graduating Cum Laude from Fairfield University, Caitlin holds two certificates for management and leadership from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Institute for Nonprofit Practice respectively. She is a newly minted “boomerang” to Rochester, New York where she lives with her husband, Alec, their daughters Vivian and Maggie and dog Cleo. They enjoy daily walks on the historic Erie Canal and are tirelessly rejuvenating a 200 year old house.

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