​LCO 101: 6 Things to Consider Before Hiring Paid Staff

Categories: LCO 101

We hear from many local climbing organizations (LCOs) that are thinking about hiring staff to make their organization more effective and sustainable.

Photo courtesy of © Corey Rich/Aurora Photos

Here are 6 things to consider to before committing to paid staff for your LCO:

  1. Ensure that you have sustainable compensation. Before you begin a hiring process, determine if you have the funds to support paid staff. You should have enough on hand to cover your employee’s compensation for two to three years—even if your new employee will have major fundraising responsibilities.
  2. Conduct a needs assessment and write a job description. Determine your capacity shortfall. Is it in administration, fundraising, or stewardship/access programs? Writing a detailed job description will help you define exactly what you need and provide the baseline for your hiring process.
  3. Establish employee guidelines and policies. Before you hire, create a staff handbook that covers types of employees, benefits, work hours, compensation, annual reviews, and other policies. Your prospective employee will also want to see that the Board of Directors has clear job descriptions too.
  4. Get workers’ compensation insurance. Obtain workers’ compensation insurance and look into your state’s Department of Labor on required insurance or benefits you must offer your employee.
  5. Decide how you will handle payroll. Small nonprofits should consider paying for a third-party payroll service, which can manage taxes and IRS filings. It’s usually well worth the cost.
  6. Document your hire. Once you’ve pulled the trigger, be sure to document the hire with a letter stating the employee’s job title, start date, employee classifications, schedule, salary/wage, and manager. Give a copy to the employee and keep a copy for your files.