Friday, May 9, 2014

The Bookworm & the Nonprofit Corporate Mindset 

Or

The Questions & Answers that Lead to Ending My Job

Zvi Baranoff

The questions below were given to each store employee to answer by the new store administrator. I turned in my answers on April 21, 2014. 

On May 5 I was informed that I was no longer a full time, salaried employee. My new schedule would be 20 hours a week. I posted this change on my personal Facebook page. On May 7 I was summarily dismissed.

Write down what you do (not job description):

I process books and other media, develop ongoing relationships to assure regular donations and an understanding of our customer base as well as the concerns and interests of people that donate materials to us. 

I work on an ongoing basis to improve displays of materials in these departments. 

I network with others in our immediate community and the book community worldwide. 
Where do you see changes needed?:
The store is the most public face of Alachua Habitat for Humanity. As such, it should serve as outreach for folks interested in working on projects concerning issues of housing and social justice.  Shopping at a Habitat Store should be an educational experience.                                                                              
We need to do a better job of reflecting the core values of Habitat for Humanity in all aspects of our work. As a nonprofit organization, we have a responsibility to the community at large, especially those that donate to us and those who shop here, that we are serving a higher purpose and the common good. 
Mission-related displays as well as displays reflecting organizational activity need to be regularly updated and prominent.
The organization misses an opportunity when it neglects this valuable outreach tool and is shortsighted when it sees the store only as a funding source. Our “bottom line” must be understood not merely in terms of dollars and cents but also in terms of social good accomplished and a sense of purpose.
Store employees choose to work here because of their personal commitment to Habitat for Humanity's expressed core values. Therefore, Habitat employees should be seen as primarily social activist and not merely retail workers.
Store employees need to be reassured that the money they raise for the organization is well spent, fulfilling the goals of Habitat International. Better two directional communications of accomplishments and goals should be developed. Indeed, store staff should feel a part of the organization to the effect of influencing our development of programs that directly change conditions of poverty.
All Habitat Employees should earn a living wage. No full time employee should suffer with a lack of affordable housing, from periodic food shortages or find they are dependent on charity to fill basic needs.
Concern for employee housing, nutritional needs, childcare needs, etc. should never be considered as secondary, “only personal” or irrelevant. When employees find that they cannot meet their personal needs through their work, there is a loss of productivity. Additionally, retaining good workers requires understanding the needs of the workforce and finding ways to satisfy them.
Retaining workers will become a more prevalent organizational concern as the economy expands and even putting aside all moral issues, the market value of labor increases.
What would you do to increase sales and production?:
A comfortable shopping experience as well as a knowledgeable and happy staff encourages customers to return and also encourage those they know to be supportive of our endeavors.
Creativity and artistic flair should be encouraged from employees.