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Beware of 'Surface Acting'

To help nonprofit organizations better understand engagement, Opportunity Knocks recently conducted a study on what factors engage nonprofit and not-for-profit employees, focusing especially on factors employers have the ability to change. The report, Engaging the Nonprofit Workforce: Mission, Management and Emotion, helps nonprofit employers better understand the important role they can play in the engagement of their employees, and the reciprocal role that engagement plays in the success of the organization. Some highlights:

  • Employees want to work in a place where they can advance and develop skills.
  • Employers need to be aware of the negative side of emotional work – what is sometimes called “surface acting” – where employees feel the need to hide their true feelings. This is common among employees who work in human services nonprofits and deal with clients who are in difficult situations.
  • Only 55% of respondents plan to continue working for their current employer. Of those planning on leaving their current organization (45%), more than half plan on leaving within the next two years. For more information, go to
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