Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


As one of America’s top employers, the nonprofit sector is filled with outlets for individuals to blossom in creativity and innovation, while allowing them to be connected to a cause they are passionate about advocating for. However, more and more nonprofit organizations are faced with a frightening disappearing act amongst their staff. With this readily growing rate of high employee turnover, it is more vital than ever for employers to build workforce environments that inspire dedication and longevity amongst staff. This study is focused on pinpointing sources for poor employee retention and differentiating the role that these sources play amongst various levels of staff. In addition, this study will compare the relationship between these sources and identify any commonalities or trends. Furthermore, practices and programs leading to higher retention rates will be noted. Throughout the literature review, variables such as: type of nonprofit/mission; job descriptions; gender, age, and education level of employee(s); geographic area(s) of agency/employer; financial benefits; non-monetary forms of compensation; and organization size, were analyzed as they were presented within the literature. The study found that the causation of high nonprofit employee turnover rates are often multifaceted, as are the solutions. Specific factors for the influence of voluntary nonprofit employee turnover were identified and analyzed as follows: commitment to an organization’s mission, compassion fatigue/vicarious trauma, employee relations, job structure, lack of compensation, and limited potential for leadership development.

Year of Submission



Department of Health, Recreation, and Community Services

First Advisor

Julianne Gassman


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Date Original


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A. Jones Combating Nonprofit Turnover Presentation.pdf (812 kB)
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