Muscular Dystrophy Association

www.mda.org

Muscular Dystrophy Association Reviews

Updated January 8, 2015
Updated January 8, 2015
219 Reviews
2.6
219 Reviews
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Muscular Dystrophy Association President & CEO Steven M. Derks
Steven M. Derks
82 Ratings

Review Highlights

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
  • Potential for nonexistent work-life-balance during busy seasons depending on local leadership (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 Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great resume builder, not ideal for long-term

    • 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 full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    * There are clearly a host of Current Employees who have recently made it a point to do some PR by listing many "cons" on this site...take that info very, very cautiously. Do your own research (Charity Navigator).
    *Great and worthy mission
    *Some of the most deserving families. Seriously, this is what keeps you going amidst the chaos.
    *Every bank/gov't holiday is observed
    *Summer hours
    *Great opportunity to add in-demand experience to your resume (sponsorship sales, event facilitation, marketing, volunteer coordination, project management...). Very thankful for this because, combined with my previous experience, it allowed me to land an awesome opportunity elsewhere pretty quickly!

    Cons

    *Disconnected leadership, both internally and with the 21st century
    *Ambitious and lofty goals, but shallow knowledge on how to lead a team to such success (nationally, and as a result, regionally and locally).
    *Hard to sell/promote outdated brand. An internal survey revealed that the general public of young adults have NO CLUE what MDA is! They're working on this...but it will be a very long journey.
    *Unstable financial outlook = HIGH pressure on the field level to get $$$
    *No retirement contribution
    *No raises...nope...not even cost of living or merit based
    *Potential for nonexistent work-life-balance during busy seasons depending on local leadership.
    *Quite honestly, it's just a hot mess internally. So often things would be last minute or unclear due to an intense scramble for much needed money. Also, because the organization is struggling to find its footing and invests nothing aside from annual salary in its employees, I would only advise working for MDA for the short-term to gain valuable experience. Run very quicly once you have some wins under your belt.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    PLEASE, for the sake of the families you help, educate yourselves outside of MDA and encourage your staff at all levels to do the same. There's a flourishing fundraising world that is rebounding since the recession - relying on what worked 20 years ago is simply incompetent and obsolete at this point. Also, until you invest in your staff, your turnover will remain high and detrimental to long term success.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Too good to be true...

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

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

    Pros

    Working as a temp employee everything is great!

    Cons

    Once you get hired on as a full time employee the cracks begin to show. Systems are ancient processes are outdated and there is no respect for Administrative assistants at all even though it's one of the most demanding positions. The pay does not equal the work load. And as an hourly employee you are not required to attend event after hours but are chastised if you don't attend. No accountability for anything!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Open your eyes and look around and learn from the great staff members that you have now and weed out the useless ones. A warm body doesn't equal a great employee.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Mission rich job

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

    I have been working at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Co-workers and clients/families we serve keep me coming to work everyday.
    Office culture varies greatly from office to office. Our office is fantastic.
    time off is good.

    Cons

    The company has been changing and has not found its own "culture" yet
    company continues to down size giving the remaining employees more work
    no pay raises in 6 years
    new staff are brought in at same pay as current staff who have been here for awhile with no pay raises
    no pay for performance
    no matching 403b
    no career advancement/opportunities (especially in administrative areas)
    no recognition unless you are bringing in $$
    you are only as good as your last event

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please stop the restructuring. enough is enough
    Pay for performance. adjust pay for people that have not received raises. Administrative staff are not 2nd class citizens

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great families and an amazing mission, but leaves much to be desired if you are employed here.

    • 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 3 years)

    Pros

    The families- I personally have developed great relationships with many of our families... this is something that for me extends beyond MDA's bureaucracy. Working with these people is easily the best part of my job. I feel blessed to know that the money I work to raise is going to help find a cure for muscular dystrophy. Many of our long term sponsors are amazing, most notably our retail partners and firefighters.

    Cons

    Bloated, out of touch upper management, which plays favorites with employees in odd ways, such as passing competent and dedicated staff over for promotions in favor of others that are less able but who have been in place longer. An antiquated business model and hiring process. Like other non-profits, there is not very much money allocated to keeping up to date Compensation that is nowhere near market rates... as for a raise, forget about it. Benefits are terrible, as is vacation time (5 days of vacation in your first year of employment). Touts itself as an employer that "respects work-life balance", but this is far from the truth. Arbitrary and ever-changing territory lines make it difficult to engage new sponsors that you try to recruit- you are absolutely not allowed to "cross" territory lines, and are required to hand over new contacts located in that area over to the district office in that territory, even if you have a prior existing relationship. There is an odd focus on "signature programs" that are no longer relevant, are time sucks, and do not bring in very much money. It is difficult to engage or recruit top level donors or potential sponsors without support from the national office.

    There have been MANY recent changes in the past two years that I have been employed here, nearly all for the better... however these are things that should have been changed a very long time ago, so it is hard to get excited about them. At other similar non-profits, these changes would have been a no-brainer.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You need to offer similar benefits as other non-profits (increased compensation, more PTO, flex time, improved technology in offices) to retain or attract top talent. Steve Derks is doing good work but changes need to roll out faster.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 2 people found this helpful  

    The Rewards Far Outweigh the Challegnes

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

    I have been working at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The people you encounter while working at MDA are remarkable - from the families we serve, to the sponsors and colleagues who work along side you - the people are the best of the best.
    The work allows you to use all your talents and learn and discover new ones.
    The families made it all worthwhile.

    Cons

    MDA has been going through a lot of change and change is tough. The work is hard and demanding and not for everyone at every time of his/her life.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Create an environment of trust and respect that crosses all lines of the organization.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great work experience, even better life experience.

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

    I have been working at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The people that work at MDA, and especially the families that you get to work for, make each day worth it.
    You get to do various events and experiences that make it different than previous jobs and gives a strong growth of skills.

    Cons

    There has been a lot of change of the past several years and it's been tough. Smaller teams make it challenging for those trying to get everything done in the best way.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Follow through on what is said and remember your current team members are your strongest advocates and resource.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    "The Mission is Everything"

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

    I have been working at Muscular Dystrophy Association full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    At the heart of this organization is an unwavering passion to fulfill its mission of eliminating the world of muscle disease. The message is reflected in MDA's focus, its people and dedicated supporters. In a challenging fundraising environment, MDA has retained a generous health care package and made several changes to its time off policies to help foster a more sustainable work-life balance. MDA places a great deal of focus on promoting talented team members. The level of talent, drive and commitment of its workforce is astounding. The families that you meet and the stories of their courage are incredible. It is a very rewarding career.

    Cons

    Unlike some of their peer organizations, MDA is still trying to dig its way out of the damaging economic climate from the last five years and overcome some significant revenue losses. This has resulted in severe cutbacks, closure of field offices and has damaged the morale level. Its flagship fundraising campaigns have not kept pace with the changing demands in the marketplace which has also impacted revenue levels.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Although mission is the foundation to the organization, there needs to be a stronger sense of responsibility to the employees that are the backbone. The talent erosion over the past few years due to lack of adequate compensation is unfortunate. The efforts to improve the work/life balance are notable but employees are unable to take advantage of the opportunities due to the high expectations and round the clock emails.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Cold call business and community leaders and recruit them to become jailbirds to raise bail money for MDA.

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

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great mission. Comfortable station/desk. 1 day of training/coaching. 30 minute lunch (unpaid though). Friendly co-workers. Incentives to get you get jailbirds/nominations.

    Cons

    Cold-calling. Meeting quotas. Quota of 1 volunteer/hour. Temp position that's about 30 days. Adding personality & excitement to a long script without them hanging up/cutting you off (sales pitch). A little bit of people to call, so having to get nominations. Gatekeepers (especially doctor's offices, schools, and big companies) make it difficult to reach key leaders. Constantly sent to voice mail with no call backs. People are rude and get agitated if they've been called before. People are also busy, or just not interested in helping nonprofits. People say they'll check with their district manager and get back to you, when you have quotas to meet. People don't respond well to jail theme/ cheesy script

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Incorporate mailing and email to get past gatekeepers. Start recruiting earlier. Change dates so it's not during vacation/busy times. Change script to be more conversational/ have interaction

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    Fraudulent activity prevalent

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Recruiter in Downers Grove, IL
    Former Employee - Recruiter in Downers Grove, IL

    I worked at Muscular Dystrophy Association as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    None that I can think of

    Cons

    The manager of this office allows recruiters to indicate they work for the venue which is hosting the lock up event. This practice continues despite my numerous complaints. It is nearly impossible to make your quota without taking advantage of this little trick. I was called out for doing what the most successful recruiter in the office does every day and was told I could not do it. Management does not listen and there is no documentation by recruiters. I have no idea how they report on activity since their recruiters do not document. Wa.y too much work for the money.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Listen to people who are older and wiser and have much more corporate experience than you do. Do not allow double standards. Rules apply to everyone.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great mission, toxic management - on all levels.

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

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

    Pros

    I had the pleasure of working with a few great people that I would work with again if given the opportunity.

    The families were my motivation! They are an amazing and unique group of people that I will keep in touch with for years to come!

    Cons

    Work load, stress level, LONG hours, unrealistic expectations, no respect from management, no matter how good you are/do it's never good enough.

    No work life balance...all work all the time.

    Micromanagement at its worst.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    CHANGE IS GOOD!
    The only way this organization will make thrive again is for upper management to change! Either change the way they think, act and treat their employees or for several new people with new and fresh ideas to enter those positions. If you don't start treating your employees like they matter and you respect and appreciate all that they are doing, you will continue to receive reviews like these and have one of the highest turnover rates of all nonprofits!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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