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Putting People First

Building a stronger nonprofit sector together

The purpose of "Putting People First" is to build a stronger and more effective nonprofit sector – both within and outside King County, WA – so organizations can be better equipped to better serve our communities. This project is a result of a partnership between 501 Commons and the King County Veterans, Seniors & Human Services Levy. We share a common interest in discovering data-driven solutions to chronic under-investment in the people who work in our sector.

Employee turnover levels in all sectors in our country are at historic highs. The nonprofit sector is ill equipped to deal with the rising salary and benefit expectations of workers. We are, however, well equipped to attract workers looking for jobs that align with their values.  We have the opportunity to come out of this "turnover tsunami" in a better position to help communities recover and to address critical service needs if we can catalyze our partner sectors—business, government, and philanthropy—to help us put people first by investing in improved nonprofit wages and benefits.

From March to July 2021, 501 Commons administered two ambitious surveys to collect data on wage and compensation practices, employee satisfaction, and the response to COVID. Very soon you will be able to download these two free reports:

  • Wage & Benefits Survey Report: A critical challenge facing nonprofit organizations is attracting, recruiting, and retaining well qualified professional and support staff. The purpose of this report is to help our sector offer competitive compensation, attractive benefits packages, and equitable policies. Accurate and comprehensive data on salaries and benefits in the nonprofit field will help organizations evaluate their own compensation and benefits practices and guide these policies moving forward.
  • Employee Engagement Survey Report: The purpose of the survey is to identify non-wage factors that are linked to high employee engagement, attracting and retaining staff, and producing strong client services. The results of this survey, along with the wage survey, can provide King County nonprofits with comparative information.
We use the phrase "Putting People First" as a call-to-action.
  • For nonprofit organizations, it means fairly compensate your hard-working employees and avoid practices that attempt to pay employees the lowest amount possible to conserve program resources. This behavior perpetuates discriminatory pay for people of color, people not born in the U.S., people living with a disability, women, and others.
  • For funders (including government, foundations, and individual donors), it means supporting the full cost of services provided by nonprofits, including wages and benefits that are comparable to those offered by businesses.
The goal is that the findings presented in this project will help us build a future where the people who carry out the important work of building and sustaining our communities feel supported and empowered to reach further heights in their nonprofit careers.

Information on Human Resources

Visit our collection of human resources tools and preferred practices to help you develop and engage your team members. Resources include recruiting practices, a COVID-safe work environment, and preventing sexual harassment.

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Explore King County Nonprofit Salaries

Coming soon! Nonprofits and people looking for a job in the nonprofits can search and compare wage data for 171 nonprofit job titles in King County, WA. The information reflects salary numbers collected from March through July 2021 from 233 responding organizations.

King County Employee Engagement Report

Coming soon! Read the feedback provided by 1,178 nonprofit employees to questions about their job, supervisor, workplace culture, compensation and more.  While overall job satisfaction was high, there are lots of opportunities to improve job satisfaction, employee well-being and engagement, and human resource practices.

Learning Connections Catalog and Career Resources

Browse our catalog to find leadership programs, nonprofit degree options, training, and other professional development resources across the Pacific Northwest, as well as resources on finding a job, leadership development strategies, and more.

Access leadership resources

King County Nonprofit Wage and Benefits Report

Coming Soon! The 2021 King County Nonprofit Wage and Benefits Report provides information on over 10,000 employees in 171 jobs at 233 organizations located in King County or serving King County residents.