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The Great Resignation Part 1: Keeping Your Philanthropy Leaders

The Great Resignation is impacting philanthropy teams as much as any other industry. Because donor engagement relies on continuous relationships, it is vital to do all you can to keep philanthropy teams intact. Hold tight, especially to your revenue-generating philanthropy officers. Here are some things you can do to help those employees grow and not go:

  • Communicate clear expectations. Establish strategic priorities, align goals and provide philanthropy officers with core metrics. No one likes a road trip without a map, even if you take a detour.

  • Develop a gratitude culture. Everyone can serve as a philanthropy voice when they exude gratitude for the health care organization. One of the easiest ways to keep a major gifts officer is to develop more organizational advocates.

  • Evaluate the praise meter. While some employees may bask in public praise, others may shine with private notes. Praise isn’t expensive, but it’s invaluable. Determine what works best for the individuals on your team.

  • Avoid allowing poor practices or style issues to fester. If there are areas to improve, do not wait for an annual review. Best practices in employee development reflect individualized plans that are specific and timely. Check in with team members often.

  • Allow major gift officers a great deal of independence. Recognize that confidence, creativity and reflection are critical components in this role. Flexible working arrangements attract and secure quality candidates in a competitive market.

  • Develop policies, processes and practices that create a robust system for the entire staff. Do not rely on traditional roles when a high performing team is best designed organically out of a shifting organizational structure.

  • Provide appropriate and effective training. According to a 2021 Gallup survey, 57% of adults in the United States workforce would be interested in an “upskilling” program, focused on learning a new skill. Sixty-one percent indicated upskilling was an important factor in staying with their employer.

  • Create career growth experiences. Place employees in new and dynamic stretch situations that may even cause heart flutters. Workers—especially Millennials and Gen Zs—want to grow. In a recent poll by Monster, 80% of respondents do not believe their current employer offers growth opportunities.

While the Great Resignation does not show signs of ending in 2022, it should awaken and reinforce the importance of strong, vibrant cultures. Rarely does an employee leave due to one moment. Instead, during a period of reflection, many factors begin to tip the scales and encourage a shift, especially if you are not staying relative, comparable and even above compensation expectations. There will continue to be integral team members that leave organizations, yet leaders can adopt tactics to build vibrant workplaces where team members are passionate about the organizational culture, its mission and their evolving roles.

Continue reading Part 2 of the Series

Accordant Checklist_Great Resignation_Part 1
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About the Author: Michelle Rovang is a Principal Consultant with Accordant. She can be reached at Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn to learn more about the role of culture and philanthropic strategy and to continue this discussion.


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The Accordant Team has published a number of books to advance the efforts of health care philanthropy and help development leaders everywhere. 

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Accordant is honored to collaborate with American Hospital Association Trustee Services to provide issue papers, templates and webinars to support the involvement of healthcare trustees and foundation board members in advancing philanthropy. These resources can also be found on the AHA Trustee website.

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