Muscular Dystrophy Association Reviews

Updated January 30, 2015
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Muscular Dystrophy Association President & CEO Steven M. Derks
Steven M. Derks
83 Ratings

73 Employee Reviews

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  1. 9 people found this helpful

    The good, the bad, and UGLY

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fundraising Coordinator in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Fundraising Coordinator in Houston, TX

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    MDA is very frugal with money, and definitely uses it to serve our communities to the fullest. I was always proud to tell people that 77 cents of every dollar helped people fighting muscle disease.

    Mda is a fantastic cause, muscular dystrophy is a terrible thing, and Mda is truly making a difference in the lives of people living with als, duchenne, SMA, and other diseases.

    The benefits are amazing. You are fully covered medically. They just switched time off to PTO though and that was a bummer.

    I was blessed to have great fellow fundraising coordinators at my location that worked hard and supported each other.

    At the end of my term, I felt very appreciated by higher up management (national office). I am thankful they noticed our office worked hard under such harsh conditions.

    Cons

    Time: In large cities, like houston, you will work many many many weekends. You will work late, and you will work hard. I know all offices are not this intense. The houston office had WAY too many projects and not enough staff making it difficult to succeed. This stretched the office thin. You will work long hard hours most of the year with little compensation. They offer summer hours, which is so appreciated, but many times we worked late on those days. If you have an event until midnight, you can come in at 10. There is no money compensation.

    Leadership: Our office had a huge transitional year, and it hasn't recovered. The staff is brand new and there is no direction or teaching on how to run events well. Everything is assumed. Management did not know how to explain projects well and there were LOTS of miscommunication. Tasks that should take 2 hours took days and the small things were sweated and the big things were forgotten. We all had to teach ourselves through trial and error. I believe that to still be the case today. They have started to offer webinars etc which are helpful, but in reality, if your leadership in the office is non existent, your office will tank. That happened at ours.

    Respect: I have never been treated with such condescending remarks in my career life. There is no appreciation or affirmation from management. The office moral is lacking greatly. I was not told once by our ED that I was doing a great job. There was also a lack of respect to our families, sponsors, and volunteers. Money was put before relationships and it was very obvious when I started here. I cannot describe how many times I have been yelled at, hung up on, or told "it's that time of year" by people that have supported MDA in the past. It's an embarrassment and needs to be fixed. Sponsors literally run away from our management because they hound them money questions instead of asking them his they are doing. It is awkward and humiliating.

    Communication: Communication is lacking. All management has different ideas on how to do things so projects never get done in an efficient matter. I have done so many projects over because of miscommunication or lack of communication. We would stay late at work with nothing to work on because they had not communicated tasks etc. To the team.

    Bullying: if you were different, you were bullied until you would just quit. I saw this happen to 4 people in the year I was with MDA. They would make remarks about your clothing, your car, your personality, and they would give you low jobs to do.

    Human resources has stepped in recently which I am thankful for. But I would NOT recommend this job to anyone as of now. A lot has to change and a lot of time needs to pass before this will be a stable working environment. I went into such great detail because I truly feel bad for people that will be stepping into this toxic environment.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There has to be a management change for this office to get better. People are leaving after working for 3 months, the people need to change. I do appreciate national noticing that there is an issue and are trying to resolve it. But I think there needs to be more appreciation for the fundraising coordinators. When numbers and projects are really bad, call fundraisers too, not just managers who throw us under the bus.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful

    Not worth your time or effort

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fundraising Coordinator
    Former Employee - Fundraising Coordinator

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association

    Pros

    meeting some great people along the way, families, sponsors, coworkers, etc.

    Cons

    The organization is run like it's still in the 1960s, the culture is TERRIBLE, one of the worst I've ever seen. Late last year they had us all sign confidentiality agreements which say that even after leaving MDA you're not allowed to say anything negative about MDA. WHAT? REALLY? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HIDE EXACTLY?

    Why not fix the problem, MDA, rather than try to intimidate your employees into silence.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nothing at this point, management knows what the problems are and refuse to address it so....

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Muscular Dystrophy Association Response

    Jan 15, 2015HR Director

    Thank you very much for the feedback. We truly are reviewing these responses and working towards making improvements. We hope that this next year brings some positive change to our culture. Best ... More

  3. 4 people found this helpful

    they don't really care

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Fundraising Coordinator
    Current Employee - Fundraising Coordinator

    I have been working at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    sometimes fun environment, some good coworkers

    Cons

    they don't care about their employees or their families. they honestly don't even seem to care about the money half time. more like managers justifying each others useless existences. they're definitely a "cut off your nose to spite your own face" type of organization. best advice of your life: do not take a job with these people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    take a REAL look at what's going on in the field.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Muscular Dystrophy Association Response

    Jan 15, 2015HR Director

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on your current experience with MDA. I can say without hesitation that we are working hard to improve our culture. We are truly taking the time to review ... More

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  5. 15 people found this helpful

    Truly Horrific

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Fundraising Coordinator
    Current Employee - Fundraising Coordinator

    I have been working at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I suppose the mission would be a pro if only the mission they claim to have were actually a priority...

    Cons

    When I say it is a truly horrific place to work, I mean it. I came to MDA with 4+ years of fundraising experience and an additional 4+ years of sales experience. I raised a lot of money for them in the years I was there, but I was miserable through ever minute of it. Management is terrible, the worst types of people get promoted to the highest divisional levels and then stay... FOREVER, driving talented field staff away, leading to the worst staff attrition I have ever encountered.

    I saw some of the most sub-human treatment of staff in my life during my time at MDA. It was just as traumatic to watch my coworkers leave work crying every other day as it was to experience being targeted, harassed, and bullied myself. I don't have enough fingers to count the number of fundraising coordinators that came and went in the time I was there, in an office of 5. Turnover was truly shocking, but what's worse is executive management doesn't seem to be interested in fixing the problem behind it. Therefore my district and many other districts were literally bleeding money from loss of sponsors and family relationships that the turnover created.

    I would not wish the MDA work culture on my worst enemy. It's truly a shame how disgusting a place it is. MDA management should be ashamed of themselves.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    WAKE UP AND DO SOMETHING USEFULL

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 16 people found this helpful

    Executive Director

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Executive Director
    Former Employee - Executive Director

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    There some is support for some innovation.

    Summer camp is incredible and and inspiring.

    Family healthcare benefits are good.

    Cons

    I've been working in development for over 10 years and have volunteered for countless non-profits. This was the worst job I have ever had. I would not suggest to anyone to work for MDA.

    Whether the MDA fundraising programs have ever succeeded in your district or not, it is expected that you make them succeed. I was told that my office was doing horribly at the Lock up program all of 2013. Once I saw the stats for about 10 other offices in our Division I found out we were ranked in the top three in lock ups and ours were not going well. Their canned programs are great if they are working well, but they are not consistent among markets and MDA has a big problem in forcing each office to do fundraising programs that work well in some areas, but are not suitable for all markets.

    MDA's fundraising is very backwards. The offices are highly event focused which is not a good source of sustainable fundraising for long term. A traditional fundraising background will not help you to be successful in this job. It requires fundraising skill sets that are so specific to MDA that you will be puzzled by why you are there. An example would be the lock up program where you could spend three days a week coaching 8 temp employees sales skills while they are on the phone the whole time. It's basically a call center and it is crazy.

    The organization is very top heavy and it appears that the higher up you get in the company, the less work you have to do. In one year I had five different bosses for varying reasons. Of the managers I had worked with, those who were with MDA the longest were the worst managers of all and knew the least about fundraising. They live in an old world of fundraising where MDA's fundraising programs were successful. As you get further up in management you have to do less and less fundraising, even though the upper management is viewed as the experts.

    The pay is awful and endless hours are expected from employees. I hated being a manager who was paying my staff nothing yet told to expect everything from them. It was wrong and there was no room for training, learning, or building programs. It was always expected that people would immediately begin performing. There is a culture at MDA to perform or get fired. It's wrong and unfair to young, new professionals who are making nothing.

    There is a lot of training for their canned programs and specifically for executive directors. I would go to trainings, implement what was taught and then be reprimanded for doing it by other management who felt the training wasn't effective. It was a set up for failure and a shockingly common experience.

    There is also a lack of cultural diversity and women in upper management. Almost all of the executive directors are female yet somehow most of the national staff are male. It doesn't make any sense. There are barely any minorities in upper management, this includes the executive directors. There are about 100 executive directors. I'm not certain how many more upper management there is, but I had three bosses if that gives any indication. I could probably count the minorities on my two hands. I grew up in a very diverse community and was shocked by the lack of diversity. It's uncomfortable.

    There's no comp time and in your first year you only get 5 vacation days. The healthcare service coordinators run camp and are expected to run their own camp and attend another camp each summer. That is equal to two weeks of day and night work away from home, followed by zero comp time. It's wrong and the healthcare service coordinators generally come home sick from the intense amount of work. When I left this management position I was able to find multiple jobs in lower ranking positions that would pay 10K+ more than what I was making at MDA.

    Again, I would never suggest to anyone to work at MDA. That is sad because MDA does great work for the families they serve, unfortunately their fundraising systems are outdated and ineffective which makes the MDA families suffer due to changing staff.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 7 people found this helpful

    Disappointed in District Office Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time

    Pros

    The families that we serve are some of the most inspiring people you will ever meet in your life! They reminded me all the time why I came into the office everyday! The other Health Care Service Coordinators, Fundraising Coordinators and Administrative Assistants are so passionate and driven. Great PTO, plenty of holidays and summer hours.

    Cons

    I came to the MDA because I believed in the mission. I left disheartened and with a bad taste in my mouth. First off there is little to no room for growth- especially if you work in Health Care Services. Perhaps the worst part are the people that lead the district offices (at least in the 2 district offices I worked with)! Executive Directors work remotely constantly. There were weeks where I saw my ED 1/2 a day out of an entire week. If they are in the office, their doors are shut and they are unavailable to lead. They are non responsive to emails and I have missed deadlines because of that. They require long advance for time off requests, but they never approve the time- even after multiple emails have been sent. I've personally seen my ED throw another employee under the bus for something she did, or rather, forgot to do.

    The worst part about management is the bully culture they promote. They waste their days publicly shaming their employees or gossiping about and making fun of clients (yes, clients), sponsors and coworkers in public. There were a few times at events where I felt embarrassed by their behavior and overheard attendees and clients making comments about their behavior. Consider yourself lucky if they are shaming you because they are also fans of the cold shoulder treatment. Because of this behavior, the two offices in my area have seen so much turnover. One girl only lasted a few weeks. I've watched too many wonderful, inspiring, successful people take their talents to other organizations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take a look at who is running your district offices.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful

    Great cause, terribly run

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Director of Business Development in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Director of Business Development in Philadelphia, PA

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Awesome cause, excellent kids you raise money for, so deserving.

    Cons

    Layers and layers of bureaucracy for even the most mundane things. No thinking outside the box. No doing anything differently. We had 4 layers of superiors breathing down our necks and some of them the only job they had was to run around and oversee us, as if our tiny office of 6 with our own executive director needed so many people telling us what to do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They changed over mgmt nationally and locally when I left. Not sure how it is today. But I do know my office which was 5 counties, got merged into another office of equal size/scope and they cut the staff in half so I would have had twice the work! So glad I left! as did my boss, and 5 other people from our tiny office. Says something about you when all your people leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful

    Do not work for this company!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time

    Pros

    The best thing are the client families that you help!

    Cons

    Horrible work-life balance! They expect you to drop everything, even last minute, to work nights and weekends with no comp days.
    Extremely unrealistic goals and expectations set by the regional office.
    Too much regional involvement in daily activities (multiple meetings with regional a week when you could have been doing your job)
    I had years of non profit experience before I worked for this company and this is by far the worst I've ever seen regarding "money focused" and they completely lose sight of "the cause".
    No feeling of job security.
    High turnover.
    Trained very poorly!

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful

    WORST JOB EVER! Any "good"review is a fake!

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association

    Pros

    SOME of the people with the disease get helped.

    Cons

    The supervisors treat VRC's like they are less than human. Goals are ridiculous. They talk down to u & often have company paid lunches in the office but NEVER ask the very FEW VRC's to join them. Very rude staff. They talk down to VRC's. They keep reducing the already reduced part time hours & will close the office whenever they feel like it making for even less hours & THEY DO NOT CARE. I asked a friend to do a story with the local news to expose the dark side of this comany & to expose the local temp agencies for sending out employees to this awful company!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Act like a human being

  11. 5 people found this helpful

    PEASE READ! Don't be fooled by the most current reviews!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Fundraising Coordinator
    Current Employee - Fundraising Coordinator

    I have been working at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    As a current employee, I am truly finding it hard to come up with a pro regarding my job as a fundraising coordinator, other than working with real families living with muscular dystrophy. With all of the jobs I've had, this is the absolute worst, and I'm not alone in this. DON'T BELIEVE THE CURRENT REVIEWS! I don't know where these "current reviews" came from, but I guarantee you they are from made-up accounts by the higher-ups at our national office, or certain employees were "asked" to write a positive review. PLEASE GO BACK TO EARLY 2014 OR ANYTIME IN 2013 TO READ THE REAL REVIEWS. YOU WON'T BE SORRY.

    Cons

    Where to start... absolutely NO TRAINING. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I can only speak from a fundraising standpoint, but there hasn't been one REAL training from my first day here. Sure, they'll tell you you're going to have a seminar or webinar or a "special meeting from the divisional head" for training - and the trainings are BOGUS. I still can't formulate into words EXACTLY what I do here because I've had no training. I was sent to a New Hire Training a few months after I arrived - 3 days long and it was a sales seminar... I left sales to pursue fundraising - fantastic.

    Now for when you get the job... there's no real history from previous employees left in a database anywhere for you to look at. So you come in to your new job, with copies of emails and other odd documents on a CD-ROM and you're supposed to magically understand how to do your job. OR BETTER YET, look through mountains of BINDERS where all of the pertinent information can be found regarding your job. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

    Oh, and did they tell you about the pay freeze that's been in place for the past 5 years? BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T TELL ME THAT WHEN THEY OFFERED ME THE JOB! Good luck with trying to move your life forward in this place - no pay increase, no bonus, no ability to move forward (and how would you anyway with no training).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Everyone in upper management should be ashamed of themselves - I've seen the salaries you're making compared to the pittance you pay field staff - and you're not even doing anything to deserve it! And if you are, try a little transparency. Your ridiculous nation-wide conference calls with all your business jargon and garbage is just that - garbage. You never answer a question directly and you never ACTUALLY GIVE US UPDATES. And such a shame too, because with your 30% turn-over rate, all your doing is preventing families from trusting anyone new, and causing sponsors and partners to feel at a loss when they have to explain their program all over again. Shame on you.

    GET WITH IT. What are you all doing up there... helloooooo. So what? - you're giving us early leave during the month of July, HALF OF THE STAFF CAN'T EVEN USE IT BECAUSE IT'S THE BUSIEST TIME OF THE YEAR.

    Tell the truth. Get rid of the dead weight (ie. divisional staff that have been here way too long to understand and offer new fundraising methods). Stop the pay-freeze OR offer performance based bonuses. Develop REAL trainings. STOP looking for sales people - people come to the MDA looking to fundraise and you're turning them into car salesmen. Have divisional staff be more present and available to field staff OTHER than the Executive Directors.

    START NOW.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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