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Aligning Values and Practice: How an Innovative Nonprofit Walks its Talk and Supports its Staff


I once worked for an organization that proudly proclaimed “We value human life and treat each person with dignity and respect.” By the end of my first month, half my fellow “middle managers” had left for other jobs. When I asked a colleague why so many were leaving an organization with such an inspiring value, she replied “because they forgot to add ‘except our staff’ at the end of the statement.”

With nonprofit organizations understandably focused on continually raising the money needed to carry out their vital missions, I’ve seen far too many lose sight of what is ultimately their most valuable resource – those who do the work. The organization referenced above is far from the only one attracting talented people with an inspiring mission and stated values, only to wind up with a demoralized staff experiencing a culture inconsistent with what the organization claims to value.

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