All posts by Robin Noah

ECofOC Nonprofit Growth Program

Robin Noah


ECofOC is presenting a special program for Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations.  The program is designed for ED’s who want to take their nonprofit organization to the next level.

The Executive Director

Consider the ED/CEO as the person in charge of the operations of a nonprofit organization with many unique responsibilities. Among these responsibilities Executive Directors are also charged with the responsibility of the growth of the organization by:

  • Establishing and enforcing the vision of the organization;
  • Successfully recruiting and supervising office staff;
  • Maintaining a productive relationship with the board of directors;
  • Creating a fundraising plan that will ensure sustainability;
  • Managing organizational finances.


The Program

This special, comprehensive Nonprofit Growth Program is designed for the Orange County Executive Directors who want to take their nonprofit organization to the next level. The Executive Director needs to complete an ECofOC coach application and be assigned an Executive Coach. The ED must have or create a strategic plan for significantly growing the nonprofit’s capacity to serve the community, and must be willing to make the time investment to participate in the benefits offered in this program. In addition, the nonprofit must have at least 5 additional employees. Limited funding available.

You will find the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Coaching program description and application on our web site ( To apply for the ECofOC Nonprofit Growth Program, state that interest in the “Coaching Expectations” section of the application.


Program includes:

Coaching:  One on one Executive Director coaching with your own personal ECofOC Executive Coach

Resource Experts:  Access to other ECofOC coaches with expertise in a variety of topics relating to running a successful nonprofit organization

ED Forum:  Option to join the Executive Directors Forum, which provides speakers and mentoring from peers and coaches. First 3 months free.

Strategic Planning:  Option to have ECofOC coaches facilitate a strategic planning session for your organization

Training:  Opportunity for Executive Director and any nonprofit staff member to attend most OneOC training program at a highly discounted rate.

Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,


Robin Noah

Robin Noah


Every year about this time I receive calls regarding holiday time off and pays so here are a few reminders.

Employers do not have to offer time off on nationally recognized holidays. However, an employer is obligated to provide reasonable accommodation for the religious practices of its employees unless it can show that the accommodation would result in undue hardship for its business.

Many employers offer a “floating holiday” in addition to the regularly scheduled holidays. This allows an employee to take time off for religious observances that are not covered by the employer’s established holiday schedule. Make sure your company policy clearly explains the company rules. While most employers provide the same holiday benefits, equally within the company’s policy, it is not a requirement as long as the rules are not discriminatory.

Employers do not have to pay Hourly employees for time off on a holiday. They are only required to pay hourly employees for time actually worked.

On the other hand, Exempt employees who are given the day off, must be paid their full weekly salary if they work any hours during the week in which the holiday falls. This requirement for exempt employees did not change under the new federal overtime regulations.

If an employer provides paid holidays, it does not have to count the paid hours as hours worked for purposes of determining whether an employee is entitled to overtime compensation. An employee must actually work 40 hours in a week before he/she is eligible for overtime. Collective bargaining agreements and/or government employers may have contracted other provisions for determining overtime.

Employer’s policy statements should clearly explain the criteria for Holiday time off, including the proration of the amount of holiday pay due to a part-time employee. For example some companies as a matter of policy do not provide Holiday pay to part-time employees.

Use it or lose it: In California, vacation pay is considered another form of wages and as such cannot be taken away from an employee under any “use it or lose it” scenarios. “Use it or lose it” policies should be clearly communicated to all workers in employment policy manuals. If applicable be sure to check your collective bargains agreement or any other legally contracted agreement in your company. Remember that in California vacation earned is considered wages due and payable at the employment separation.

All information in this article is general, not intended to be legal advisement. Please contact your legal advisor for applicable laws.

Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,


Updating Form I-9

Robin Noah

Robin Noah


By now most employers, regardless of size, are well aware that employers have certain responsibilities under immigration law during the hiring process. Failure to comply can be a costly event. Not knowing the law will not excuse business owners or management of business establishments for 1-9 compliance failures. For example the current Form I-9 is valid until Jan. 21, 2017. An announcement was made On Aug. 25, 2016 that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

USCIS must publish a revised form by Nov. 22, 2016. Employers may continue using the current version of Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013 N until Jan. 21, 2017.

After Jan. 21, 2017, all previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid. You can keep up with the changes by subscribing to There are many web sites devoted to the 1-9 including U S Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Did you know? The current administration has dramatically increased the number of I-9 audits to historically high levels, and promises that I-9 enforcement efforts will remain a high priority. For example, on one day, June 15, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued 1,000 Notices of Inspection of I-9 forms and subpoenas to various U.S. companies large and small. I-9 investigations are at an all-time high, with more than 3,000 audits taking place in 2012 compared to only 250 in 2007.

A few reminders: An employer must: A) Verify the identity and employment authorization of each person hired after Nov. 6, 1986 and B) Complete and retain a Form I-9 for each employee required to complete the form.

An Employer must not 🙂 A) Discriminate against individuals on the basis of national origin, citizenship, or immigration status and B) Hire, recruit for a fee, or refer for a fee aliens he or she knows to be unauthorized to work in the United States.

Consider some of the penalties:

  • Failure to comply with the IRCA’s I-9 rules can result in significant fines, loss of access to government contracts, and highly negative publicity for your company.
  • Employment of unauthorized workers may result in fines up to $16,000 and six months’ imprisonment. Employers that knowingly hire or continue to employ unauthorized aliens can be barred from competing for government contracts for a year.
  • Paperwork violations can also result in significant fines. Each mistake or missing item on a form can result in a $110 penalty, topping out at $1,100 for each form. A missing form would automatically be assessed at $1,100.

You may want to have an independent 1-9 audit conducted as a strategy for ensuring that your business is compliant with immigration related employment practices.

(Excerpts from articles of Adriana Kostencki, Esq.)

Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Is it harassment or bullying?

Robin Noah

Robin Noah


Regardless Employers have an obligation to their employees and to the Law when it comes to Harassment and/or Bullying at work

In the past several years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) closed 7,256 sexual harassment and bullying claims nationwide that resulted in over $44 million in fines and lawsuit settlements. Last year there were over 30,000 employee complaints filed in California alone! In a recent survey, 27% of Americans reported that they have suffered abusive conduct while at work. How do we stop this epidemic of workplace harassment and bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable and unwelcome behavior directed towards an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety:

  • Basically a health and safety issue
  • Affects safe workplace policies
  • Employees can file complaints to the Fair Work Commission.
  • You can be investigated and prosecuted by your State regulator for a breach of health and safety legislation.

Workplace harassment is unwanted behavior that offends, humiliates or intimidates a person, and targets them on the basis of a characteristic such as gender, race or ethnicity. Even when you have less than 50 employees you still need to have written policies regarding these issues. There are very specific guidelines for handling harassment – sexual or otherwise.

Often employers treat bullying and harassment as the same class of problematic behavior. However, the law relating to each of these areas is different, the approaches you take to prevent these behaviors should also differ.

Harassment relates to the prohibition in anti-discrimination laws against sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination in the workplace. These laws differ from health and safety laws in that a victim of harassment can make a complaint to an external agency – in effect, launching a legal proceeding against your organization.

You need to create and implement bullying and harassment policies. Each policy needs to describe what the organization considers harassment and what it considers as bullying. The ensuing action when the policy is violated should also be very specific.

Keep in mind that policies are written so that there is a common understanding of the organization’s behavioral expectations and to what end the organization will take corrective action to provide effective resolutions of these types of problems.

Even if you have less than 50 employees, employers have an obligation to their employees and to the Law when it comes to Harassment and bullying at work.

Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County.

What’s the Difference: Nonprofits vs. For-profits?

Robin Noah

Robin Noah


Recently I was asked if there is a difference between operating a nonprofit organization and a for-profit business. I answered with a resounding YES and the following brief overview.

While the aim of for-profit organizations is to maximize profits and forward these profits to their company, the nonprofit organizations’ aim is to provide funding to meet society’s needs.

Nonprofits spend a major portion of their time seeking funding, often without selling a “product”. They need to convince contributors of the value of their mission and how they can spend the contributed money wisely as they move forward meeting the mission of their organization. Additionally they must prove the need to use some of the donated money for administrative costs.

A reality is that nonprofit organizations are often in a struggle to find enough money to survive and to raise funds more effectively.

Unlike for-profit companies that can earn commissions for sales, nonprofits must constantly demonstrate that they use the greater part of their funding for their mission. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) asserts that a commission on each donation would undermine donor trust by placing self-gain over a nonprofit’s mission.

An interesting fact: According to journalist Tom Chmielewski, The American Institute of Philanthropy suggests that a not-for-profit organization’s unrestricted net assets should total less than three years of its current budget, and that at least 60 percent of its total expenses should be spent on program services rather than on administration and fundraising.

Another interesting fact is that In addition to a balance sheet, a for-profit will prepare an income statement each quarter listing the company’s revenues, gains, expenses and losses. On the other hand, generally speaking, nonprofit organizations do not compile an income statement but instead prepare a statement of activities each quarter. This document simply lists the organization’s revenues minus expenses, plus net assets

To learn more about the differences in the for- profit businesses and nonprofit organizations spend some time on the internet. There is a wealth of information there for interested persons.

Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Capping the California Sick Leave Benefit

Robin Noah

Robin Noah


In the midst of misinformation and confusion, July 1 marked the day California employers were required to begin providing paid sick leave benefits to their eligible employees.

A key concern is employer’s actively managing compliance by following the rules. For example as an employer you are required to have a policy in place to cap Sick Leave benefit at 3 Days.

California’s new sick leave law also carries consequences for noncompliance. If employers do not comply with the new law, they can face Labor Commissioner Enforcement measures that include awarding back pay, damages and penalties up to $4,000. Small employers included.

The California Chamber of Commerce is one of the organizations that is providing information for administering the law. Here are some highlights from CEO Allan Zaremberg’s article of the July 10, 2015 Cal Chamber newsletter.

Sick Leave Policy Important

There is a lot of misinformation about what this law requires. An employers must create a policy addressing the amount of leave they are providing or else they will be subject to the statutory mandated accrual rate of one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours an employee works.

“This means that if employers are not clear about capping their leave at three days, full-time employees will be entitled to 69 hours of paid leave per year and they will be allowed to carry that over to the next year, and so on. This is nearly nine days—not three—if the employee works a 40-hour workweek. It is critical that employers understand that they must have a policy in place—preferably in writing—that clearly communicates to employees about the amount of leave they are providing.”

The law also includes several notice, posting and recordkeeping mandates The Labor Commissioner has released the poster, and it’s available on the Labor Commissioner’s website

  • Wage Theft Notice: The Wage and Employment Notice (Labor Code Section 2810.5), which employers have been required to provide to nonexempt employees since 2012, has been updated by the Labor Commissioner to contain information about an employee’s right to accrue and use paid sick leave and about employee protections under the law.
  • Pay-Stub Notice: An employer must provide an employee with a written notice setting forth the amount of paid sick leave available to the employee each pay period.
  • Recordkeeping Requirements: Employers will need to keep records for at least three years which document the number of hours that each employee worked and paid sick days accrued and used by each employee.

The law also specifies that employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who take sick leave.


Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

The California Paid Sick Leave- A brief reminder

Robin Noah

Robin Noah


Most California businesses are aware of the new law for businesses with operations in California passed Sept. 10, 2014. At that time Gov. Jerry Brown announced that California employers will now be required to give part-time and full-time workers at least three days of paid sick leave per year, starting in July 2015.

As the July 1 deadline approaches employers need to be prepared for meeting the obligation of the benefits under the new, mandatory, paid sick leave law titled The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014.

Employers need to be prepared for administering the new law. For example employers are required

  • To post a paid sick leave poster that advises all employees of sick leave rights and is in a conspicuous location. Willful failure to post can result in a penalty of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense.
  • Provide written notice of the paid sick leave to all new hires from January 15, 2015 and existing employees, covering the following points of information:.
  • Understand that an employee may accrue and use paid sick leave and may not be terminated or retaliated against for using or requesting the use of paid sick leave and has the right to file a complaint against an employer who retaliates.

Payday Notices have to be updated with each payday notice presented providing the amount of paid sick leave available to the employee

There is a lot more information available in the internet. One resource is the Q and A at

If there is an existing paid sick leave policy in place and it is modified prior to the July 1 operative date an employee notice regarding the change must be provided within seven days of the effective date of the company’s policy change

It is recommended that any separately written documents that will be included with the payment of wages should be reviewed with a labor law attorney.

Recordkeeping; Retention of records that document paid sick leave activity is required for at least three years including;

  • Number of hours that the employee worked
  • Paid sick days accrued by an employee
  • Paid sick days used by an employee.

Failure to maintain adequate records establishes a presumption that the employee is entitled to the maximum number of hours accruable. Briefly stated ‘‘ persons employed in California for 30 or more days in a year earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked’.

Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Keeping Up with the 21st Century

Robin Noah

Robin Noah


When was the last time you updated your management style?

This is an issue for the future and for the succession of a company’s success in moving towards the future. Some managing aspects remain timeless; however, the hierarchical, inward-focused leadership style that defined the 20th century is nudging us to get real.

Companies are beginning to face the chasm between the perspective practices of their current leaders and managers and the reality of managing today and in the future. The business landscape is at best uncertain and ambiguous. The Leaders of today and tomorrow need to adapt to a leadership style based onexerting influence based on values; to develop managers who question the status quo and revisit their own personal and long-held assumptions about leadership, management, business, and success.

Management staffs operate best with flexibility, able to manage in the shifting landscape of trends that impact their company’s ability to grow. Assumptions need to be revisited.

Leaders must commit to the training/development of their management staffs. With the ever shrinking labor pool, organizations need to take steps now to identify strong leaders, to provide the appropriate development opportunities for them. Consider positioning management development as a prerequisite to growth within the organization.

Start your planning by:

  • Analyzing your workforce
  • Projecting management needs into the future.
  • Identify the gaps between current management skills and future needs
  • Create a management development plan
  • Create a succession plan
  • Include a contingency plan

A successful business is usually rewarding and challenging. Success comes from   focus, discipline and perseverance and with leaders that facilitate change and encourage desired behaviors. Your goal is to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

What Motivates Donors?

Robin Noah

Robin Noah

This past week I had 15 solicitation letters from 10 organizations.  Some were what I call repeaters.  These are organizations I have sent a donation within the last few years. Seven (7) of them included a “gift”.  Usually something I do not need, especially address labels.   Seldom do the mailers motivate me to give again; however, I was intrigued by the act of motivating a donor to give again so I conducted a brief search on donor motivation.

I found the results of a survey conducted by the Software Advice Company. They surveyed 2,833 American adults on how they want organizations to engage them following a donation and ended up with some valuable, actionable data. Here are some of the takeaways

Donors like to be thanked.

  • The most popular choice was a personalized letter in the mail, preferred by 46%.  Almost half of respondents wanted their thank you by snail mail. The next most popular options were email (35%) and a social media post (11%). A phone call, however, was preferred by only 8% of those surveyed

Most of those surveyed want a nonprofit to wait at least 7 months before asking for another donation. Follow up with a thank you and impact stories in the meantime.

  • Although 21% were comfortable with being asked after 3 to 6 months, only 16% wanted nonprofits to ask less than three months later. While you certainly shouldn’t wait to send a thank you, it seems that nonprofits might fare better by waiting at least seven months to make their second ask.

They also want to see how their donations were used within an organization and the resulting outcomes.

  • Success stories serve as proof that you are an effective organization. When a donor makes that first donation, it is as if they are allowing you to audition for their support. You will only get the role if you show you can make a difference, when given the opportunity.

Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for compelling impact stories to feature in your follow-up communications. While success stories were the update of choice for 60% of those surveyed, the next most popular updates were the latest news from the nonprofit (17%) and upcoming events (15%).

(Excerpted From

Decisions, Decisions and More Decisions

Robin Noah

Robin Noah

Every aspect of our lives is bordered by decisions and every choice that is made has a consequence.

In everyday life we often have to make decisions fast, without enough time to systematically go through some action and thinking steps. In such situations the most effective decision making strategy is to keep an eye on your goals and then let your intuition suggest the right choice.

There are a myriad of things that influence how an individual makes decisions. They include emotions, perceived personal and professional risks and rewards, experience, education, deadlines, stress and a host of others.

If you follow the process of the most powerful leaders, who listen to their intuition, gather facts, evidence, and data to support their decision making process you will make good decisions.

Effective decision making requires practice. It takes countless factors into consideration before the final decision is made. Key elements for decision making are:

  • Identifying the problem,
  • Analyzing the possible solutions
  • Consideration of possibilities that are likely to bring you closer to your goal
  • Making the decision

You can increase your success in making decisions by establishing a process that with constant practice, will become a natural action step. One of the most practical decision making techniques can be summarized in these simple decision making steps:

  • Define the problem
  • Determine if necessary to resolve
  • Gather data
  • Consider the standards for making the decision
  • Determine possible choices/alternatives
  • Consider consequences
  • Make decision

Once you make your decision put it into action. Convert your decision into specific plan of action steps and implement your plan.

Author:  Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,