May 14, 2024

Director's Notes: Embracing Opportunities for Growth

Jen Levy, ANCA Executive Director


Several years ago, when faced with losing a valued staff member, an ANCA board member told me to ‘find someone better.’ My initial reaction was to defend how great this person was and how much she had contributed to ANCA. But his comment did not reflect her job performance; she was great, or lack of contributions to ANCA; there were many. He said my job was to help us progress toward our vision for the future by hiring the next great employee with the skills needed to advance our strategic direction. Change can be challenging, but it also presents an opportunity for growth and expansion, a chance to bring fresh perspectives and new talents. As leaders, we need to rise to this challenge.

A significant change happened at the end of February when our Office Assistant, McKenzie Achatz, left ANCA to devote her full attention to her role as the Assistant Manager of Utah State University’s Aggie Creamery. McKenzie, with her unwavering work ethic and proactive approach, played a pivotal role in ANCA’s daily bookkeeping, managing membership renewals, maintaining the ANCA Job Board, and supporting ANCA’s three full-time staff. Her departure leaves a void that we will strive to fill with the same level of dedication and commitment. We are deeply appreciative of her invaluable contributions to our organization.  

As a small organization, we understand that staff changes can be significant. Each member of our team often takes on multiple roles and responsibilities. This adaptability is a testament to our resilience and commitment to our mission. We are prepared to handle various tasks and take on additional responsibilities when necessary, ensuring our operations continue smoothly. 

At the ANCA Winter Retreat, the Board and Staff undertook a strategic approach to prioritize the creation of a new staff position. However, before we embark on this journey to “find someone better,” we are meticulously evaluating our needs. We have crafted a comprehensive Action Plan to “assess and find support for new positions: Membership/Donor Coordinator and Contracted Bookkeeper.” This plan ensures that our future hires align with our strategic direction and contribute to our growth. The desired outcomes of this Action Plan are as follows:

  1. ANCA will outsource bookkeeping services, and
  2. ANCA will add a new full-time, remote-eligible position by July 1, 2026.

Maintaining the books and financial reporting were priorities. We have successfully outsourced our bookkeeping services and are working with a Utah-based company specializing in nonprofit bookkeeping. They have made some great suggestions to improve our bookkeeping, and we have set July 1 as the goal for updating our accounts, reports, and procedures. 

Determining the next full-time staff position at ANCA involves an approach that aligns with our current needs and future goals. Our first step was to assess our organizational needs, including existing roles, responsibilities, and capabilities. As a staff, we underwent an exercise to identify gaps or areas where additional support or expertise is needed to achieve our goals and address emerging challenges. A priority need is a staff member dedicated to our membership and donor management. We also looked at how our current staff roles and responsibilities have changed and where opportunities for advancement exist. 

Finding support for the new position will involve evaluating the financial resources available to support salary, benefits, and associated costs. This includes evaluating current funding sources, projected income, and existing expenses. As ANCA Director of Marketing & Communications Asa Duffee writes in Directions, we need to ensure that we are paying staff equitably to support inclusion in our field and retain talented staff. An additional budgetary challenge is the Department of Labor’s newly issued rule, which increases the salary threshold required to exempt a salaried bona fide executive, administrative, or professional employee from federal overtime pay requirements. This significant overtime change will profoundly affect our industry. 

The prospect of welcoming a new member to the ANCA team is filled with excitement. This addition will bring fresh perspectives and skills and inject new energy into our operations. It's an opportunity to enhance our capabilities and achieve our goals more effectively, and we are eagerly looking forward to it.