The Real Reason Nonprofits Can’t Keep Great Staff with Jonathan Meagher-Zayas

Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell

Dec 6 2023 • 31 mins

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It seems to be a common struggle in nonprofit organizations - the complaints about recruiting qualified staff, keeping great talent, and increasing diversity in a sector where more than 80 percent of nonprofit board members are white (BoardSource).

However, this may be that these leaders are focusing efforts and energies on external strategies without first assessing internal efforts. They tend to blame specific employees or larger issues because it is easier than holding themselves accountable.

My guest today is Jonathan Meagher-Zayas, MSW, MPA, CFRE, CDP. Jonathan is a Queer Latinx Millennial nonprofit strategist dedicated to addressing equity issues, building capacity, engaging the community, motivating new impact leaders, and getting stuff done.

In a recent article for Community-Centric Fundraising, Jonathan discusses his experiences with racism and discrimination as a fundraiser, and presents the argument that “the real reason nonprofits continue to fail at staff retention and equity initiatives is that they refuse to address their oppression.”

In this episode, Jonathan and I discuss:

  • Jonathan’s history as a fundraiser in the sector that led him to leave three full-time jobs due to traumatic experiences.
  • Ways that nonprofits can actually make progress in these areas
  • How to acknowledge the ways in which oppression shows up in nonprofit organizations
  • How leaders can focus on strategies leading to equitable outcomes.

Connect with Johnathan on LinkedIn


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