It is essential for your organization to have solid staff in place to carry out programs and administrative functions. While volunteers can be helpful to an organization, depending on the size of your budget, future donors may question the commitment level of your staff if you rely too heavily on volunteers. The consensus among funders is that paid staff are more reliable than unpaid volunteers.
Finding competent staff is extremely important, and in some ways it is even more challenging than recruiting board members. Initially, your staff will be smaller than the board, and the staff is going to need to encompass all of the qualities that you seek for the board as a whole. You will want senior staff to be charismatic, articulate, well connected, and organized. They also will need to be good managers, experienced fundraisers, and have a solid understanding of the organization's goals, and effective ways in which they can be implemented.
As you build up your staff, you will need to prepare a personnel manual, which outlines policies related to overtime, annual and sick leave, health insurance and retirement benefits. While this document is not critical in the initial stages of setting up a nonprofit organization, it can prove to be quite handy when your staff begins to grow past the one-or-two-person stage.
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