What Non-profit Organizations Need to Know About Benefits Compensation and Reporting

Tax Professionals' Resource
March 13, 2013 — 1,215 views  
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When job seekers look at their opportunities, the benefits they receive are very often an important factor. In non-profit organizations, budget constraints mean that there is a limit on the salaries that they can offer. Offering a robust and competitive package of benefits is an effective way to retain employees and attract new talent. There are many ways this can be done.

Make a Retirement Plan Possible

Offering a retirement plan like the 403(b) plan could be costly for some of the non-profit organizations, though it is not cost prohibitive as many people imagine. Most retirement plans come at a high cost when the employer agrees to match the employees' contribution. However, you may find it surprising that it is possible to establish a 403(b) or 401(k) plan and maintain it for not more than few hundred dollars per month as administrative fees to be paid to the benefits management firm. It is important to help the employees of your organization to start saving as soon as possible.

Be Creative

When you are not able to offer financial benefits to your employees, outside-the-box thinking can help you provide benefits that your employee will appreciate. Let the employee work from home for a day or two. Arrange a party to appreciate your employees when organizational milestones occur, or make an employee’s wedding a special occasion. These non-cash means of giving attention to the employees and rewarding their hard work will make them realize how you really appreciate their contribution.

Many employees of non-profits are motivated to do good work like volunteering but may not find the time or energy during regular workdays to volunteer. Give them some additional holidays apart from their regular vacation days to volunteer. This will help them to do what they like to an extent of satisfaction.

Be Flexible

An FSA (Flexible Spending Account) allows your employees to reserve a part of their pay on pre-tax basis only for qualified expenses like dependent care and medical care. Because that money is deducted directly from an employee's salary and is put in a FSA, it is not taxed which means that the extra money can be placed directly into the employee's pocket. This has two benefits for the organization – savings in tax amount and the employee will see the organization as one who cares.

Engage Staff in Decision-Making

Involve your employees in your decision-making process. Discuss their benefits with them. Be honest and work out a benefits plan that suits both the organization as well as the employee. This will build in him a feeling of belonging that will lead to satisfaction.

Renegotiate Work Arrangement and Time-Off Policies

Flexible work plans and vacation policies are the most desired non-salary benefits. You can implement this in a number of ways such as offering flexible timings, work from home opportunities, and unpaid summer holidays for those who you can afford to give it to. But, make sure your management is able to maintain performance levels with this kind of flexible office environment.

Work with Brokers on Health Insurance

Though many non-profits work with large agencies directly, it is often more cost-effective to work with certified and trained brokers. Identify a good broker who can help you to compare benefit plans and provide you with a better plan by just negotiating with two or more companies. In difficult times, employers often ask employees to help shoulder the burden to ensure long-term job stability. This could mean removing vision, or shifting a bigger part of the cost on to the employees. These measures are never easy to implement, but most people would prefer that their benefits be reduced as long as they get to keep the rest of the paycheck with them.

Online resources such as the IRS website can offer good tips to help offer flexible and creative benefits that show your employee that you value his contribution while keeping your organization open to job seekers.

Tax Professionals' Resource