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Nonprofit Employer of Choice™ (NEOC) Award

NONPROFIT SUCCESS – Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Nonprofit Employer of Choice™ (NEOC) Award

Technological advances, changing demographics and intensified competition are shifting workplace expectations and the way that work gets done in non-profit organizations. How do you measure up as a Non-profit Employer of Choice?

In spring of this year, The Philanthropist and Ignite NPS co-published a paper, Trends and Forces Reshaping Nonprofit Organizations.  In it they identify “Leadership Approaches and Workforce Expectations” as one of four key themes that nonprofit leaders need to explore to help their organizations effectively accomplish their mission and thrive in a complex environment of accelerating change.

The thesis is made that advancement in technology, changing demographics and intensified competition are shifting workplace values and expectations, leadership models, the ways staff participate and how work gets done in nonprofit organizations. To succeed in this environment, it is suggested that effective leaders are adopting new approaches to attract and retain talent.

A Decent Workplace

In a quest to create “decent workplaces” thought leaders are debunking the myth that employees in the nonprofit sector are willing (and should be expected) to work in this environment in exchange for the opportunity to “do good.” Today, talented people can find a socially meaningful career outside a traditional nonprofit organization, which intensifies the competition for qualified staff. And, while there are larger systemic issues, Imagine Canada found there are also practical human resource (HR) issues at the organizational level that cause young professionals to leave the sector. These issues include inadequate HR management, challenging organizational cultures, lack of clarity around job expectations, and limited training and career development.

One tool that can be used to measure a Canadian non-profit’s HR practices is the Nonprofit Employer of Choice(NEOC) Award. Now in its third year, the NEOC program provides a framework to evaluate an organization’s talent management issues and start constructing a corrective plan of action. This program further enables the board and senior staff to probe and analyze the issues and start the transformational change needed to achieve the impact the donor rightly expects.

The bottom line is always about mission impact.

The Nonprofit Employer of Choice™ Award

The Nonprofit Employer of Choice™ Award recognizes Canadian organizations that have committed themselves to better business management practices ensuring successful mission achievement.

  • The NEOC Award is a national program that will help participating organizations gain a competitive advantage to attract, engage and retain top talent.
  • A three-step process to participate: Submit an application. Complete the “Organizational Profile.” Distribute the “Employee Commitment Survey” for anonymous completion.
  • Eligibility: Registered as a Canadian nonprofit; Have a physical presence in Canada; Have a minimum of 10 full-time employees and, have been in operation for a minimum of one year.
  • Applications close October 31, 2017 and 2017 NEOC award recipients will be announced in February, 2018.

ASSOCIUM is a proud sponsor of the Non-profit Employer of Choice Awards. For more information, please visit neoc.ca.


As the Editorial Director for Hilborn:ECS, Lisa MacDonald helps frontline fundraisers stay connected with current trends and best practices across the country. Contact her at [email protected]  or connect on Twitter, @lisalmacdonald. 

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