I have been working at American Planning Association (More than 10 years)
The organization serves a noble mission: "making great communities happen", and many smart and dedicated people work here to bring that mission to life. Most of the negative reviews on glassdoor are several years old as of 2016. There has been a change in senior leadership over the past few years (new CEO, new COO), which has brought about a much more positive and collaborative culture. Within my position (in technology), I have also been lucky to have had opportunities for promotion and career growth, although I understand that such growth has not necessarily been possible with other positions, given the size of the organization. Also, as other reviewers have noted, the work/life balance here is great.
NOTE: I am rating the CEO with an approval, however the CEO is NO LONGER Paul Farmer. The current CEO is Jim Drinan.
A collaborative culture can mean endless discussions and meetings... and on its worst days a loss of focus. APA is still learning to adjust to a more open culture and there are challenges. As other reviewers have noted, compensation and growth opportunities are limited for most positions, however, such is the case with most small-to-medium size nonprofit organizations.
Advice to Management
Keep doing what you are doing, and make sure to follow through on the commitment to consensus-based decision making.
Keep market rates in mind for job roles that are important to the organization. Although APA may not be able to offer the same salaries as the private sector, it should come close enough so that it can offer an attractive package given work/life balance, culture, and commitment to meaningful work.
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