Muscular Dystrophy Association Reviews

Updated August 23, 2015
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Muscular Dystrophy Association President & CEO Steven M. Derks
Steven M. Derks
29 Ratings

Pros
  • I knew I wanted to make a difference for the people that changed my outlook on life (in 17 reviews)

  • Benefits are good, families are amazing (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • There is a poor work/life balance for much of the year (in 20 reviews)

  • You are expected to work a crazy amount of nights and weekends with absolutely NO comp time in exchange (in 16 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

81 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    If you like micro managment this is the job for you

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Jacksonville, FL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Jacksonville, FL
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Getting to work with the families and kids. Loved attending summer camp and getting to spend time with the kids. For along time this helped off set the negative parts of working for the company but after 5 years I just could not take it anymore

    Cons

    Low pay, negative and micro management from executive staff. There is not a good work to family life if you work for MDA. They expect you to work long hours and weekends with not flex time or overtime. If you mention either you minus well be looking for a new job. I think the company has lost focus on the real reason they where founded.


  2. Helpful (5)

    DO NOT WORK HERE

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time

    Pros

    In the 8 years I was employed by MDA I was promoted several times culminating to a Regional Position, managing one of the highest revenue producing markets in the organization. It was rewarding to work and raise funds in the communities where we served families. The only pros of these job were the people we served, my colleagues and sponsors.

    Cons

    The senior management is the most unqualified group of individuals I have ever crossed paths professionally in my 18 year career in development. Employees are undervalued, over worked and made to feel incompetent, even when successful. There were several times that I fielded phone calls from senior management as they were on golf courses (for leisure) or their child's game, to reprimand my team over a minor concern (while we were clocking 12 hour days). THERE IS NO DIVERSITY in this organization, which is concerning. WHILE THE MAJORITY OF SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYEES ARE WOMEN, THERE ARE NO WOMEN IN SENIOR LEADERSHIP. It is a "good ole boys" club, and frankly a little concerning that it remains so in 2015. There is little work /life balance, however as a manager I ensured my staff had off-the-record comp time - otherwise they would not have lasted a year. Family life was always expected to take a back seat to your job, which you were drastically underpaid. I came from a very progressive area of the company (Mid Atlantic Division )and was shocked at the incompetent and unprofessional culture that existed throughout the organization. I could not get out fast enough. There is no room for growth (particularly if you are a woman). I hope the new CEO can clean up the mess his predecessors left. The mission of MDA still motivates me, I still contribute and volunteer where I can. However, with its current culture they will continue to hemorrhage competent and passionate people - and at the end of the day it is those we serve that will suffer.


  3. Helpful (5)

    Worst job ever

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Fundraising Coordinator in Cedar Rapids, IA
    Current Employee - Fundraising Coordinator in Cedar Rapids, IA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The families we worked with were very kind.

    Cons

    Horrible hours. I often worked 60-70 hours a week instead of 40. Which often included all day events on weekends. The executive director was rarely there, mocked other employees when she was, and created a hostile work environment. We were encouraged to hide tye fact that money raised was going to stem cell research to possible donors. No culture of open communication or accountability.


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  5. Helpful (7)

    STAY AWAY

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Fundraising Coordinator in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Fundraising Coordinator in Houston, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The families and meeting some inspiring people along the way.

    Cons

    MDA is going from bad to worse. There are so many terrible things going on within that organization it is hard to narrow it down. The one that sticks out the most to me, as a former employee is how they treat employees. Employees are extremely undervalued and mistreated by all levels of management. There is no appreciation for any work and employees are bullied for anything from what they wear to what they like to do on the weekends, their age and whether or not they have children, it is ridiculous and extremely judgmental. I'm honestly surprised no one has tried to file a lawsuit against MDA for things like this. The management will wear you down until you literally dread coming to work every day. This is extremely surprising considering management does not do any of the work within MDA. All the work is done by the little people, the fundraising coordinator and healthcare service coordinators. Management has lots of meetings but can't actually accomplish anything on their own. MDA talks about being an "employer of choice" but that has not changed any of the terrible working conditions. The HR generalist that they tell you on here to reach out to you are non-existent. They work from home or remotely and are never in the offices to see or help anyone. I had many conversations about my work conditions and that failed to change anything. Upon my exit interview, she said she knows how terrible it is but she cannot do anything to change it. There is a pay freeze going on, which I do not see changing anytime soon, since the organization cannot make money on any event they do currently. No bonuses or raises, either. Pretty standard pay for a nonprofit but with no hopes of any increases its not worth it, not even a standard of living increase. You are overworked beyond compare. Not only late days, but constant weekends and even holidays you are asked to come in with no compensation. They give you 8 half-days in the summer (summer hours) and think this will make up for it. It doesn't. There were times when I worked 6-8 weekends in a row (Saturday and Sunday) with no extra time off or compensation. And they're not just a couple hours on the weekends, there are many 12-15 hour Saturdays or Sundays, with no recognition or a thank you, for what you have just done. When anything comes up you are expected to be there, whether or not you have a family, or kids, or an outside life that comes first. Upper management is extremely out of touch with what it takes in 2015 to be an effective nonprofit. There are so many disease driven nonprofit that work better than MDA and they have failed to keep up with the times. MDA is notorious for treating donors and sponsors badly and they have left to find other nonprofits to support. There is no CRM or management system to track people and when staff leave generally so does all of their information and relationships. I can't tell you how many times I called to introduce myself to a donor and was greeted with "oh, another new MDA girl, how long will you last?" or simply just rudeness since they have met so many of us. Most of the families registered with MDA do not like the organization. MDA only caters to the kids and summer camps and completely ignores the adults. The only services adults receive are clinic visits and some support groups and then we call and hound the families and ask them to donate all the time, it is extremely embarrassing. 80% of those with muscular dystrophy are adults and yet they are ignored. A lot of adults are finding other organizations to go to because of this. Sure, the kids are cute and need our help too but it isn't enough to ignore everyone else that needs us. I would stay as far away as possible from this organization. There is nothing fulfilling about working for them. It is a shame because muscular dystrophy is a terrible disease, but it is not worth the pain of working with the management of MDA. I saw 15 employees leave in my 2 years with MDA and I know many more in my office were unhappy and looking for other jobs. The management does not understand what it is going to take to turn things around and blame all their problems on the ones actually doing the work.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your employees better. Show some appreciation for those doing all the work. Re-vamp your events and learn to adapt with the changing times of what needs to be done to effectively fundraise. Make HR effective instead of just having it to say you have it, it's useless in it's current state.


  6. Helpful (5)

    This organization needs to change if it is to survive. Look at the history over the past 5 years, it looks bleak.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Volunteers are wonderful unfortunately they are under utilized and appreciated for their commitment .

    Cons

    This organization is still run like its 1970. Upper management does not support local staff and you have to spend more time reporting on every incidental step you don't have enough hours in a day. The training is minimal but they make you check off that you received training. Fundraising costs are so high that goals are unattainable after event costs. Regional staff is at best judgmental and not honest about expectations and unethical regarding confidentiality. The work is overwhelming with NO appreciation or respect for the staff commitment. This organization does not have local Boards so there are no local decisions it is based on upper managements decision. Recruit new leadership with a fresh perspective.

    Advice to Management

    Give less power to regional staff and cut down on number of regional staff and provide support for local and community staff. Bring the organization into the 20th century by changing formula events and using technology for your benefit. Provide local volunteer leadership instead of staff leadership at a regional level that does not have a grasp of communities served. Look into the high staff turnover at the local level and provide transparency about fundraising events costs and volunteer recruiter expenses.


  7. phone work is out of sinc with the time we live in

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Phone Solicitor for MDA Lock Up Events in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Phone Solicitor for MDA Lock Up Events in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    part time work if you want only part time work about 6 - 7 months a year (20 hours a week on average) median pay ( these is much better out there) you may be helping the MDA children and families irregular hours (VoIP goes out so you go home without pay)

    Cons

    Bad and silly policies like the MDA phone recruiters not being allowed to send a bit of information as an informative email (or compile a mass email list for the day) to be used when we reached a potential lock up event business person volunteer who wanted to commit but also wanted to make sure we are who we really say we are. The phone recruiters were not being allowed to give out an office phone number for a call back to us so it makes us look like we are "hiding something" as one nice gentleman who eventually declined the lock up said. Also the MDA employees expected the written "script" to be followed as most of the scripts they wrote are so long-winded and have long sentences that the scripts caused actual frustration for the person we "cold called" and often reduced the positive responses (unless the phone solicitors shortened it a bit). And the office personnel constantly printed out really old contact lead sheets with wrong addresses and wrong employment information and this always lead to the person we called refusing to sign up for a lock up event ("hey, I moved 5 years ago get your information right"...). Then even if we produced many business and executive sign ups for these lock up events we are always, always, always "critiqued" or " re-instructed" every day in a climate of inept micromanaging that made you want to "not continue" the job of helping the children and their families. These micromanaging lectures include information we phone solicitors already "knew" as we are the ones actually doing the hard job of selling the MDA lock up event to a stranger hundreds of times a week. These so-called "helpful little micromanagement lectures" are designed to make the MDA middle manager "feel like they are working" and are the middle management's poor attempt to make us "better salespeople". Also a policy of overly complementing the people getting the first bunch of sign ups for the lock up each day made the ones who did not get the first sign ups feel bad and (hello ! ) they were already feeling bad enough that they didn't get many sign ups. These main staff people assigned to oversee the phone solicitors sit behind the phone solicitors at a desk and most times that person is simply on Facebook all day (and frequently playing overly loud Pandora bad rap music with explicit lyrics - which is never appropriate as it does not reflect the professional stature of MDA as we made calls to professional businesses all day who can hear the music in the background). It is no wonder that I watched 4 people start working and all quit within a few weeks and another time when a few temp agencies sent another batch of people over for a MDA group job interview for the phone solicitor jobs not a single person showed up. I was told by a secretary who had worked there for years that this is common. Believe me, the phone volunteer solicitor coordinators doing the solicitation and mostly cold calling really did try on every single call but your corporate policies of micromanaging burnt them out from caring about the children and families till each one eventually quit. Shame on you MDA upper management for taking so many good, caring people who are willing to do a part time, low paying, cold calling job for the good of the MDA children and families and treating them so badly they quit.

    Advice to Management

    Get your act together and hire better middle management. Help the phone solicitors do a better job by not micromanaging them and driving them to eventually quit. Put the phone solicitors in charge of themselves and you will actually see higher numbers and better retention of the fundraisers who signed up for these MDA lock up events.


  8. Helpful (8)

    Spoiler Alert: Don't Work Here!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Fundraising Coordinator in East Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Fundraising Coordinator in East Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time

    Pros

    The families that you can work with.

    Cons

    No training, no support, poor management, awful learning curve (because there's no training), cold calling is mandatory and sucking up to firefighters is your primary goal. DON'T WORK HERE! It's awful! I was laid off when they realized that they have been in the whole financially for the past 5 years and JUST figured it out. They laid off 50% of the company a week before Christmas. No values!

    Advice to Management

    Actually train people and don't hire complete jerks as Executive Directors!


  9. Helpful (2)

    Over worked Fundraiser

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    The pay is pretty good for a non profits. The benefits aren't anything special.

    Cons

    Over worked and bad management.


  10. Helpful (6)

    MDA

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Working for a cause. Having a chance to provide meaningful assistance and aide to those affected by MD.

    Cons

    Poor leadership on several levels. The director at my MDA office would often lie, throw others under the bus, and did not provide any training or support. They have employee retention problems because employees are doing enough work for 3+ people. Not enough support for the health care coordinator positions.

    Advice to Management

    Fundamental change is needed at MDA.

    Muscular Dystrophy Association Response

    Jun 18, 2015 – HR Director

    I'm sorry for your experience in this particular office at MDA. We are passionate about our mission and expect our employees and managers to live by our values. I'm sure that while you were at MDA ... More


  11. Helpful (2)

    Career Killer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Huntersville, NC
    Former Employee - Manager in Huntersville, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The pro is the travel to different events, conferences and regions. Also meeting the public and volunteers while working fundraisers.

    Cons

    Very old boy network and completely micro-managed to the point where you need to report to someone, that you are using a paper clip. Very cliquish and the company technology is archaic.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the top heavy lifers that stifle any and all ideals from the rank and file.



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