Transcript Episode 146 – Using Your Budget to Support Team Culture and Values on The Prosperous Nonprofit
Stephanie Skryzowski: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Prosperous Nonprofit, the podcast for leaders who are building financially sustainable and impactful nonprofits and changing the world. I’m Stephanie Skrzewski, a chief financial officer and founder and CEO of 100 Degrees Consulting. My personal mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers, to grow their impact and their income.
On this show, we talk to people who are leading the nonprofit sector in new, innovative, disruptive, and entrepreneurial ways, creating organizations that fuel their lives, their heart.
I’m excited to be here with you today and I’ve got a couple of like, I don’t think they’re hot takes, but I don’t know, maybe I’m going to give you a little accountability today. [00:01:00] I think that’s what I’m excited for. We’ve got a little accountability. So what we are talking about today, Um, is your budget and your values.
Oh, yeah. I’m going there. We’re talking about your budget and your values. And a question that I often ask is, does your budget reflect your values? And when it comes to your mission and your programs, often the answer is yes, right? We’re investing a lot of money into our programs and into our work. And so that’s something that’s important to us.
And so, yes, our budget does reflect our values. But what if I asked you, does your budget reflect your values when it comes to your team? Because I think a lot of nonprofit organizations and leaders would say, yeah, like our team makes our mission. Work right our team makes our programs happen. They help create the impact that our programs [00:02:00] are having Does your budget reflect the way that you say that you value your team?
That’s kind of a hard question to answer for a lot of non profit organizations We all know we do not pay our leaders enough money So we’re saying that we value our team and that our team makes our world go round But we’re paying them Crap. To be honest, right, to be frank, we are not paying them enough.
And there’s so many other pieces to it. It’s not just salaries, but I really want you to ask yourself some of these questions as we are getting into the time when you’re finalizing your budget for next year. And listen to me, friends, if you’re listening to this episode outside of budget times, right, you don’t have to be building your budget right now.
But if you’re listening to this, you don’t have to wait till it’s time to budget to start making sure that the way that you’re spending your money, [00:03:00] the way that you’re investing in making decisions as an organization, making sure that that really reflects your values. So team culture, you’ve heard me talk about this a lot on the podcast.
You’ve heard. Pretty much all of our guests mention that one quality of a prosperous nonprofit is having a healthy, well taken care of team, but a lot of times I am not seeing that reflected in the budget. So how is our team supposed to take care of us? Take, not to care for us. No, no, no, no. They do. They do way too much taking care of us.
How is our team supposed to take care of themselves if we don’t give them enough time off? If we don’t pay them a living wage? If we have absolutely no resources available for professional development? How in the world are they supposed to take care of themselves? How are they supposed to help contribute to a prosperous nonprofit if we have no resources for them to take care of themselves?
So I’m going to give you five tips today on this episode [00:04:00] about how to make sure that your budget reflects your values of building a healthy and prosperous team culture and how to incorporate these values into your budget, right? I think we, we can all say, we can all like pay lip service to the fact that like, yeah, we want a healthy team culture.
We want our team to be well taken care of, to prioritize self care because we know that when. They are well taken care of human beings. They are going to do much better at work, right? There’s like science. So generic. There’s science that proves that. I’m sure there is. I don’t have a research study in front of me, but.
Take my word for it. When employees are healthy, um, well rested, well taken care of individuals, they are going to do better at work, right? And if they’re doing better at work, our programs and the impact of our mission is going to go even further. So, like, are you with me? I don’t have to convince you anymore, do I, right?
We want to [00:05:00] make sure our budget reflects our values of team culture. So the first thing. What I want you to do is really define your team culture, right? What is it that you want employees saying about you on Glassdoor surveys, right? The anonymous like Glassdoor reviews of your organization, what do you want to see on there?
What do you want people talking about when your team is out there recruiting for new employees? What do you want them saying about your organization, right? Let’s clearly define our values and principles that underpin our team culture. Think about like collaboration, communication, professional development, work life balance, diversity and inclusion.
What do you want people saying about your team culture related to those things and more, right? We want people to say like, Oh yeah, I pretty much never work overtime because my role is appropriately sized. I’m not doing 10 different jobs and I’m paid adequately for the job that I am doing. So [00:06:00] I do feel like I have a great work life balance.
Listen, that is something that. It’s super important to me and my company. If I catch wind of the fact that somebody is working 50 hours a week, I’m like, okay, stop red flag. What do we need to do to fix that right now? That’s not okay. It’s not okay to be working extensive overtime at all. It’s not okay with me.
That is part of our team culture, right? So define that. And so what that means, thinking about how you’re then resourcing or how you are updating your budget, if you have somebody that’s constantly working 60 hours a week, guess what? That’s not one job then. Okay. Either that person is super inefficient, which maybe is true, but probably not, right?
Or they just have too much work. So we need to build in another employee, maybe a part time employee, maybe a contractor. Maybe there’s some tool or software that could help, but we need to get that person down to 40 hours a week [00:07:00] ASAP, right? So that’s what I’m talking about. There is money that we can allocate to solving that problem.
And that’s what we need to do. Okay. Number one, define your team culture. Like what are the things that are so important to you as an organization? What do you want people saying about you behind your back, right? What are people going to say about you behind your back? And we want good things, right? We don’t want to say like, Oh yeah, I’m constantly working 60, 70 hours at this organization.
No. Okay. Okay. So. The second thing that I want you to think about is allocating resources for professional development. I remember, I’ve had a few different experiences working with different non profit organizations and in one it was like pulling teeth to get 500 to attend a professional development training and Like, a conference that I had to travel to and pay for a plane ticket?
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely out of the question. And so there was very limited opportunities. Another organization I worked for [00:08:00] was happy to contribute significantly to my professional development because they saw that, okay, number one, this is just going to make her feel good as a person to be able to go out there and learn and grow.
But also. Think about what she’s going to be able to bring back to this organization and we trust her to go out there and learn and come back here and apply, right? So allocating resources for professional development is so important. This is an investment, right? When you invest, you are going to get returns, like when you put money into the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund.
There are going to be returns. When you put money into professional development for your team, there are going to be returns, right? So we want to make sure we’ve got budgeted resources for training, workshops, conferences, certifications that align with our value of continuous learning and improvement, right?
Isn’t that a core value at your organization? Think about that. Do you value continuous learning, [00:09:00] continuous improvement? And the answer can’t be like, Sure, we value that in some places, but not others. We really want to, like, continuously improve our programs, but yeah, our team can just, you know, suck it up.
Or try to keep up, right? No, we need to allocate resources for professional development. This is so important to me. I’ve shared in a few episodes, we can potentially link, link the episode below in the show notes, but I did share my biggest investments in my business over the years and professional development for myself is probably one of the top ones aside from, of course, my team, that’s our number one investment is in our team.
But a second one is professional development. So I. I go to conferences, I hire business coaches, I am in masterminds with other business owners to learn from and grow from, I invest hugely in professional development. So it’s very important to do this as well. And not to call anybody out, but if you’re like, okay, great.
A hundred dollars a person. [00:10:00] Okay, friends, that’s probably not enough, right? Let’s think about this. Not everybody needs to go to like an international conference every single year. That’s going to cost 10, 000, but like a hundred bucks is not enough. Have
you been spinning your wheels trying to figure out how some nonprofits have three or six months of a cash reserve while you’re barely scraping by to make payroll every two weeks? I’d venture to guess that one of the reasons you feel overwhelmed and nervous about your cash situation is because you don’t have a fund.
So I’ve created a free cash forecast template for you. This spreadsheet will help you forecast your cashflow, build an insightful budget and really help you see into the future of your revenue and expenses. I’ve built the template for you. Now all you have to do is use it, gain more clarity into your numbers.
You can make smart decisions today. To grow your impact and income tomorrow, head over to [00:11:00] 100degreesconsulting. com slash cash to get your free spreadsheet.
All right. So number three. Really prioritize employee well being and this doesn’t necessarily mean, okay, let’s do lunchtime yoga. That’s cute. That’s fun. That is not employee well being, right? Think about yourself. Like, if you are not well, if you are unhealthy because you are not Sleeping because you are working too much because of the stress of doing seven different jobs.
A lunchtime yoga class is not going to solve that problem. Right? So really thinking about, okay, how can we help our employees be well as a human being? And so that is, you know, maybe it is wellness programs, but it’s also probably like. Flexible work arrangements. It’s also an appropriate salary, a [00:12:00] living wage in the cities where you’re working.
So your staff don’t have to take two extra jobs in order to make rent, right? So thinking about that, the hours that they are working. Are you asking them to do crazy things and be on call 24 seven and, you know, have this work phone that they need to be answering emails at 10 PM. No, think about the employee’s wellbeing as a whole health insurance.
I know it’s expensive. Listen, we just did our open enrollment for our team. And holy moly, it was like a 25 percent increase over last year and while it made me kind of sick to my stomach because it’s costing us a lot more because I want to make sure that our employees don’t have to pay any more out of their own pocket than they did last year.
So what I could have done is said, okay, well we’ll contribute the same dollar amount that we did last year and now you have to cover the difference as the employee. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to say, okay, if you were paying, I don’t know, [00:13:00] say a hundred dollars out of pocket every single month, I’m going to cover the difference.
The business is going to cover the difference. And so you still got to pay just a hundred dollars out of pocket every month or whatever, you know? So. Think about that. It’s, it sucks. It really does. Health insurance is so expensive, but I felt like when we started offering it last year, I felt like, Oh, what a huge win that we have the resources that were able to do this and really prioritize our employee wellbeing.
Could we not have done it? Sure. We could have said, you know what? You guys are on your own. You’ve been on your own for a couple of years now and yeah, our team’s bigger and yeah, we’re getting more employees, but sorry, we don’t offer health insurance here. And. You know, pocket the profits or do something else with that.
And I chose not to, I chose to put it in our budget because prioritizing employee wellbeing. Um, is a core value that I wanted to integrate into our budget. Right? So think about that. What does employee wellbeing mean to you? And how can you make sure that you are resourced appropriately to be able [00:14:00] to do that?
And again, like I cannot emphasize enough, if you’ve got team members working 60 hours a week, you need more people. All right. Number four is promote diversity and inclusion. Listen, we can all say that, yes, of course we value diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yeah, of course we do. That’s the right thing to say, right?
But what are you doing to actually make that happen? Now, listen, this has been a challenge for my company as well. It’s been a challenge to figure out like, well, what should we be doing? How should we allocate resources? To foster a diverse and inclusive team culture. There are things that we have done to make sure that we are recruiting better to attract a more diverse talent pool, right?
We’re getting like all the same kind of people joining this organization. So what do we need to do differently? Okay. Well, maybe it’s something as simple as like posting on. A bunch of new sites for recruiting, right? Posting your job description on a bunch of new sites, there comes a cost with [00:15:00] that, right?
But if one of your core values is diversity and inclusion, you need to budget this into your budget because it’s a value of yours, right? So if we’re saying, yes, it’s a value, but we don’t give ourselves any money to be able to do anything differently than we’re doing right now, then it’s not really a value.
Um, right. So thinking about, you know, budgeting for diversity training, um, increasing your recruitment budget to attract a more diverse talent pool. Maybe it’s creating affinity groups that support underrepresented employees and actually giving them resources to be able to do something, right? So Thank you.
Thank you. If diversity and inclusion is a value, how are you representing that in your budget? Okay. The last one is recognizing and rewarding your team cultural values, right? So creating a budget line for recognizing and rewarding behaviors and contributions that align with your team culture and core values, right?
So maybe it’s bonuses. Maybe it’s awards, maybe it’s special events that [00:16:00] celebrate teamwork, innovation, or whatever your values are as a team. So for my organization, one of our values and one of the pieces of our team culture that I feel like really sets us apart is our collaboration. Because we are a remote team, we are 16 employees spread literally around the world.
Like we are on one, two, three continents. I think just three at this point, three continents, a whole bunch of different states in the U. S. And so it could be really easy for us to all just be working in our own little silos, but collaboration. And community is a core value of mine. So I invest heavily in a team retreat that brings all of us together in person every single year.
Let me tell you, this is not cheap, right? I have been tempted over the years to be like, you know what? This is getting to be too expensive. Let’s leave the money in the business. Let’s invest in something different. But one of my core values for our team culture [00:17:00] is collaboration and community. So I’m going to invest there, right?
We also do every single month we do a core value award. So this goes to somebody who exemplifies our organizational core values. We have four core values. And so the team nominates their colleagues at every single month. One person wins and we give them money. We literally give them money because you know what.
Yeah, people like swag, like a mug or t shirt, that’s nice, but at the end of the day, what do we want? We want money. Right? I think of the Office episode where Pam and Jim are getting married and she’s like, um, we didn’t really register. We just kind of want money, like when Pam is talking to Kevin and he’s like, you want my money?
She’s like, yes. And then he’s like, Oh, can I, should I make the, like, who do I make the check out to? Or whatever. Anyway, she’s like, we just want money. You know what? Your team probably just wants money. Like throw a 50 gift card their way, throw a 20 gift [00:18:00] card their way, you know, that kind of thing. So we also do bonuses at our organization.
That’s something to think about as well. Anyway, we want to have a budget line for recognizing and rewarding behaviors and contributions that align with our team’s cultural values, our team culture values, right? So budget in for that. You cannot do a retreat or like core value awards like we do or bonuses if you haven’t factored in for it, right?
So we just talked about five different things. five ways to really, um, make sure that your budget reflects your values of team culture and how to incorporate them into the budget. Because at the end of the day, if we are saying we love our employees, our team culture is so important, like we want to prioritize our employees well being, but you’re not actually Allocating any resources towards this, it’s just lip service.
Listen, that is not going to get you those good reviews on Glassdoor that I’m sure you want, right? That is not going to get you [00:19:00] people positively speaking about your organization when you’re not around. If you are not allocating any resources to actually taking care of your team, I hope this was helpful.
If I’m being honest, I kind of hope this called you out a little bit, right? I kind of hope this called you out and got you thinking like, yeah, we kind of talk a big talk in terms of how we value our team, but like, are we actually walking the walk now? Listen, I wish I had so much more money so I could do even more for my team.
I truly do, but I feel really good about the resources that we allocate to. our team with what we’ve got, right? At the end of the day, we do need to work within our own budget constraints because there are parameters, right? There are constraints on our budget. We don’t all have unlimited resources, but we all have something.
And so, instead of paying for that silly software subscription, that thing that you signed up for two years ago that nobody on your team actually [00:20:00] uses, how about let’s divert those resources into maybe a core values award every single month for your team, right? So think about that. I want you to think about that.
If you don’t have a lot of resources, if you’re not really working with a huge budget here, how can you work with what you have to make sure That your budget reflects your values and supports your team culture. Okay. My friends, this is one of my favorite topics to talk about. I would love to hear what you think, you know, where to find me.
I’m always over on Instagram. And in the meantime, please hit the little plus follow button on your podcast app. So you get all new episodes dropped right into your podcast. player and you won’t miss one. All right, friends. Thanks so much for being here. I’ll see you next time. Before you go, I just want to thank you for being here to access our show notes and bonus content.
Visit 100degreespodcast. com. That’s 100degreespodcast. com and I’ll see you next time.[00:21:00]