Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE)

Building professional processes to promote strong performance


The Challenge
Safeguarding American Values for Everyone (SAVE) is South Florida’s leading organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQ people against discrimination. While SAVE’s executive director has made great strides during his five years in the role, including doubling the operating budget and growing the staff from two to seven, the organization didn’t have the processes in place to evaluate and reward staff performance. SAVE’s new board chair saw  a significant opportunity to retain talent and promote long-term stability by professionalizing the organization’s staffing evaluation and compensation policies. In addition, the board sought a way to measure its own performance and effectiveness.

The Impact
SAVE has welcomed the new policies and procedures, along with the salary and bonus structure, and is  committed to using the materials. By establishing an evaluation process grounded in best practices, SAVE is now better positioned to recruit and retain top talent, identify clear organizational goals, and serve the local LGBTQ community.

The Solution
To establish sound processes for evaluating performance, SAVE turned to Giving Tree. Recognizing the importance and sensitivity of the project, Giving Tree worked closely with staff and board members to understand its current operations and recommend improvements.  

After consulting with SAVE and reviewing its bylaws, Giving Tree created board membership agreements that served as the foundation for a three-step, 360-degree evaluation process. The process includes a full-board evaluation, self-evaluation and evaluation of each board member by the board chair, enabling the board to see what’s working well and identify challenges for the board as a whole, as well as for individual board members.

To help the board evaluate staff performance and set appropriate goals, Giving Tree first evaluated the local small- to mid-sized nonprofit market and the SAVE operational budget. Based on those benchmarks, the firm created a tiered performance-related pay structure with a bonus calculator based on fundraising and non-fundraising goals.  In addition, Giving Tree ensured the board was comfortable with the new process by coaching members on goal-setting and performance reviews and creating a calendar for conducting evaluations, securing give/get pledges, board retreats and training.

Key Project Elements

  • Established a performance-related salary and bonus structure that SAVE can use across all staff positions to motivate and reward employees
  • Created goal and evaluation templates for executive director to measure success and determine appropriate compensation
  • Developed three-step, 360-degree board evaluation process to align board members around areas of strength and potential improvement
  • Created a board activity calendar to help ensure effectiveness in governance, strategy and fundraising

Services Provided

  • Talent management tools
  • Process development
  • Coaching

“We engaged Giving Tree to assist us in the creation of several human resource documents and processes to professionalize our organization and strengthen its structure. Laura Ford became part of the leadership team, guiding us in the creation of a very sensitive, necessary and objective process for evaluating our executive director, as well as a tool to evaluate board performance. Laura worked with us on a tight timeline, listened carefully to our concerns, and showed a keen ability to acknowledge and work through differing points of view to reach consensus. We highly recommend Giving Tree Associates to any organization seeking to strengthen its structure and safeguard its relevance.”

Liz Regalado, Chair


Human Needs
Human Needs

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