- What surveys are being conducted?
- Why are these surveys being conducted?
- Were these surveys conducted before?
- Why now?
- Who is conducting the surveys?
- What is VSHSL?
- What organizations will be surveyed?
- How are the surveys being conducted?
- How long will it take to complete the surveys?
- What are the benefits to participating organizations?
- When are the surveys being conducted?
- Can we see the surveys in advance?
- How will the information be used?
- How will the confidentiality of participating organizations and employees be maintained?
- Will the results be shared publicly/with all participating organizations?
- I am the person at my organization who will complete the Wage and Benefits Survey. What do I need to know to complete this survey?
- Will we be able to compare nonprofit wages/benefits to for-profit businesses?
- How can nonprofit employees participate in the survey?
- Will individual organizations receive the results of their employees' surveys?
- Can my organization customize the Employee Engagement Survey?
- Can you help us use the Engagement Survey to increase employee satisfaction?
- What is Putting People First?
- The Wage and Benefits Survey seeks information about pay levels and benefits offered to employees. Someone who is familiar with employee compensation and benefits at your organization will complete this survey.
- The Employee Engagement Survey asks nonprofit employees questions about wages, benefits, and other factors that contribute to job satisfaction. Employees complete this survey on their own.
Why are these surveys being conducted? The results from these surveys will be used to create informational resources to help the nonprofit community better understand the array of influences – including wages – that contribute to successful employee recruitment and retention in the nonprofit sector. The results will provide nonprofit leadership teams with useful information for attracting talent to the sector, and for addressing issues of staff turnover which can negatively impact program results and cause stress for individuals served by an organization.
Were these surveys conducted before? Yes, the first iteration of the Wage and Benefits Survey and the Employee Engagement Survey were conducted in spring of 2021. The 2021 reports are available on the Putting People First page.
Why now? Funding for the 2021 and 2023 iterations of these surveys was included in the Implementation Plan for the 2018-2023 King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL), as a way to help improve quality and access to services. During community planning sessions for the VSHSL, providers feedback cited wages as having a significant impact on staff retention. Moreover, high rates of staff turnover were identified as a barrier to successful program delivery.
Who is conducting the surveys? The King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) has contracted with 501 Commons to develop and conduct the surveys. 501 Commons is a nonprofit organization that provides expertise through 30+ consulting and capacity building services to Pacific Northwest nonprofits since 1989. Each year, 501 Commons serves more than 2,000 organizations, providing training and leadership development to more than 1,000 board and staff members. 501 Commons also manages GiveBIG, an annual statewide online fundraising campaign that raised more than $14.6 million for 1,400+ participating organizations in 2022. 501 Commons' experience with surveys includes offering a free comprehensive online assessment tool, a deep dive organizational consultative service, and a highly regarded Staff Climate Survey. For the Wage and Benefits survey, 501 Commons is partnering with Nonprofit Compensation Associates, Inc., an independent survey company.
What is VSHSL? The Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) connects veterans and servicemembers, residents age 55 or older, and resilient communities to affordable housing, employment, behavioral health treatment, and other programs and services that help them, their families, and their caregivers live healthy, productive, and meaningful lives.
What organizations will be surveyed? The Wage and Benefits Survey is open to all nonprofits that are based in or serving King County. The Employee Engagement Survey is open to all the employees of such nonprofits. Unpaid volunteers, interns, contractors, and board members are not eligible to participate in the Employee Engagement Survey.
How are the surveys being conducted? Links to the online surveys will be posted on the 501 Commons website and shared in 501 Commons and Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy emails.
How long will it take to complete the surveys? The Employee Engagement Survey should take employees 15-20 minutes to complete. Completion time for the Wage and Benefits Survey will vary by organization, based on the size and structure of the organization. Generally, we've found that organizations with 1-20 employees can finish in an hour or less, larger organizations need a couple of hours, and very large organizations (45+ employees) should calendar this work over a few days.
What are the benefits to participating organizations? The free survey results will provide you with a better understanding of the influences – including wages – that contribute to dissatisfaction and turnover, which can negatively impact your program results and cause stress for individuals served by an organization. And instead of having to guess what is considered “industry standard” when it comes to pay and benefits, you will have access to data-driven results so you can make fully informed decisions.
When are the surveys being conducted? Both the Wage and Benefits Survey and the Employee Engagement Survey open spring 2023. The Wage and Benefits Survey is open from February 15 to May 15. The Employee Engagement Survey is open from March 15 to June 15.
Can we see the surveys in advance? You can download a PDF copy of the from the first page of the online survey. For information on what kind of questions are asked in the Employee Engagement Survey, have a look at the 2021 report on the Putting People First webpage.
How will the information be used? Overall survey results for the nonprofit sector will be presented in the aggregate in two reports that will be released in the fall of 2023. The reports will be made available online on the 501 Commons website as a free informational resource for the nonprofit community.
How will the confidentiality of participating organizations and employees be maintained? Survey responses will be submitted directly to 501 Commons and Nonprofit Compensation Associates, Inc. 501 Commons and Nonprofit Compensation Associates, Inc. will not share individual answers with King County or other external parties.
The survey reports will only contain aggregate results. Pay and benefits data for a specific organization will never be disclosed and aggregate numbers will only be reported when the number of data points collected is large enough to ensure confidentiality (see the section for details). The aggregate Employee Engagement Survey report will not contain any information that can identify participating individuals or the organizations where they work. Employee Engagement Survey reports delivered to individual organizations will be summaries where any information that could identify an individual has been removed, and will only be reported if a minimum of five employees participate.
Will the results be shared publicly/with all participating organizations? Overall survey results for the nonprofit sector will be presented in the aggregate in two reports that will be released in the fall of 2023. The reports will be made available online on the 501 Commons website as a free informational resource for the nonprofit community.
I am the person at my organization who will complete the Wage and Benefits Survey. What do I need to know to complete this survey? The staff member or members who complete the Wage and Benefits Survey will need to have access to their organization's general employment policies and benefits, as well as current rates of pay for each employee.
The first part of the survey will ask questions about your organization and its employment policies and benefits. Topics include policies concerning salary increases, on-call work and night shifts, introductory periods, and pay for bilingual skills. The survey also asks about employee benefits such as paid time off, insurance, and retirement.
The second part of the survey asks for current pay information for each employee. The person completing this part of the survey will need direct access to the organization's payroll information and knowledge about each job's function.
Once you begin responding to the survey, you can stop and go back to it as often as needed. You can also share the link to your survey response with a colleague, so they can complete other parts of the survey. If you want to review the full survey before getting started you can download a PDF copy on the first page of the survey .
Will we be able to compare nonprofit wages/benefits to for-profit businesses? This project does not collect information about for-profit and government employee compensation. You can access free and paid online databases for for-profit pay information if you want to make this comparison.
How can nonprofit employees participate in the survey? Employees can access the Employee Engagement Survey, including details and instructions for completing the survey, through an online survey link. The link will be available on the 501 Commons website. Nonprofits are encouraged to also share the link with their staff to increase participation. To ensure equity and inclusivity, the Employee Engagement Survey will be made available in multiple languages:
- Simplified Chinese
Survey responses will be submitted directly to 501 Commons. Individual responses will remain confidential and will not be shared with employers or King County.
Will individual organizations receive a report of their employees’ responses to the Employee Engagement Survey? Nonprofits with five or more participants in the Employee Engagement Survey can receive an organizational report with summary results for their nonprofit (with no personal identifiable information) when results are available in the fall of 2023. Note: the survey will ask for the name of the organization where a respondent works. A respondent needs to enter the organization's name for the response to be included in the organizational report (all answers are completely confidential; individual answers will not be shared).
Can my organization customize the Employee Engagement Survey? We cannot remove questions or modify existing questions. We can add supplemental questions or provide more in-depth analysis to the Employee Engagement Survey for a fee. The cost will depend on the additional support you request. If you are interested, please start a conversation with us by sending an email to Jenny Lundqvist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you help us use the Engagement Survey to increase employee satisfaction? Before the survey results are released this fall, we will provide executive directors and nonprofit leaders with general guidance on responding to the survey results. Visit our survey page or join our Nexus or Putting People First newsletters to receive updates on this. The specific actions you take will need to fit your organization's culture and structure. Reach out to us if you are interested in customized assistance for your organization.
What is "Putting People First"? Putting People First is a call-to-action to put people first by investing in improved nonprofit wages and benefits. Putting People First was also the title of the 2021 survey reports. Learn more on the Putting People First webpage.