How to retain top techie talent

Recently, our nonprofit careers mastermind Amy Potthast wrote a piece called Seven Tips for Techies in a Nonprofit Job Interview for the NTEN blog. (If you’re trying to break into nonprofit work, it’s a great read even if you’re not a techie.)

When we tweeted the link yesterday, @SponsorChange tweeted back to ask if we could also offer strategies that nonprofits can use to retain “top techies and interns.”


Why yes, yes we can.

I shared the question with Amy and with Hannah Kane, who co-directs our website team. Hannah’s reply:

  • Pay competitive salaries
  • Provide professional development opportunities (e.g. technical conferences)
  • For web developers: Consider implementing an 80/20 program where 20% of the developers’ time is spent on projects they’re personally interested in. I like Kiva’s “Innovation Iteration” model.
  • Include technologists at the management level

Amy also pointed out that our web team appreciates “Donuts…massages…and strong project management including respect and willingness to listen to limitations.”

And I would add “have really good hiring practices!” to that list; you’re probably going to have a hard time retaining someone if you’re not confident that you hired the right person. Read NTEN’s Finding the Right People: Strategies for Effective IT Hiring (or their book, Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission…or their articles on planning…)

What about you? How do you communicate with and show appreciation for the techies who help your organization run?

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