Jessie Munn

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Schoeneman


Employee retention can be problematic for any organization but when that organization is a nonprofit that needs to keep costs to a minimum, it can be even more of a challenge. The nonprofit sector is a diverse one made up of a wide range of very different kinds of organizations from foundations to trade associations, from cultural and arts institutions, to healthcare and social service providers. Many of these organizations have vast assets while others provide services that are not highly rewarded or funded. Often nonprofits count on their mission to attract and retain employees however, demands for more accountability and proof of program results are placing more pressure on nonprofit employees. Nonprofits are often regulated by organizational policy and limited funding, both of which contribute to lower financial rewards for employees. Low compensation and high workloads are then leading employees to set aside their desire to make a difference by fulfilling the organization’s mission, and instead leading them to pursue positions that offer more pay and less stress (Leon, Marainen, and Marcotte, 2001). Without the right employee in place, achieving the organizational mission is difficult, if not, impossible.

This research project explored the different research works that have been done in the area of employee retention to identify the various factors which affect retention in an organization. A qualitative method was used and semi-structured interviews were conducted with area nonprofits to identify the most effective nonfinancial means that could be implemented by nonprofit organizations to retain employees. The following are the findings, implications, and suggestions gained from the literature and a qualitative analysis of interview data.