4 tips for recruiting in the nonprofit sector

Nolan Gray Tips & Tricks

Recruiting in the nonprofit world presents a unique set of challenges. Turnover rates in nonprofits tend to be quite high. Because employees are often very invested in their jobs, burnout can inevitably result. This can leave employers scrambling to find a replacement, which can lead to hiring without as thorough of a search as the employer might desire.

These aren’t the only problems though. Nonprofits also face budgeting constraints that can get in the way of effective recruiting, according to The Nonprofit Times. Organizations may not have the budget necessary to hire the most qualified staff or to promote the highest-performing employees. They also struggle to find the time to conduct basic recruiting and interviewing. All in all, it is difficult for many nonprofit organizations to hire and maintain employees over time.

Here are some recruiting ideas nonprofits can use to find and retain the best people.

Highlight your mission
According to data from the Brookings Institution cited by the Nonprofit Network, 60 percent of nonprofit employees accepted their positions not for job security, but to help the public. When compared with respondents employed by the government and the private sector, these results are astounding. Only 32 percent of the government-employed and 20 percent of private-sector employees work in their current positions to help the public. In short, the mission of your organization could very well be its greatest asset. Make sure you communicate how your nonprofit makes a difference in the community.

Make it easy to apply 
Your recruiting and application process says a lot to potential employees. Even job seekers looking to make a difference may be turned off by an organization that appears disorganized. Outmoded recruiting practices not only prevent talented people from applying but also send a message that your organization isn’t using the most up-to-date tools elsewhere in your processes. Good recruiting software goes a long way, especially if it means you can target applicants on mobile and social networks.

Create a realistic but competitive compensation and benefits package
With budget constraints, many nonprofits won’t be able to compete for candidates based on salary. When you find the right person, you can’t necessarily pay whatever it takes to get them on board. Be realistic about what you can pay, but do the research to determine the typical going rate for that position. What you can do is provide benefits that may be attractive, like the ability to work from home.

Focus on retention
Don’t just hire someone to fill an open slot. Consider how they could contribute to the organization in the long run. Hire for retention rather than making it a second thought once the person is already on board. Consistently think about the staff you already have. Check in with them and make sure they are satisfied. If they’re not, find out what your organization could do differently to accommodate them.

Recruiting nonprofit staff is challenging, but not impossible. Implementing smart process and investing in new tools like applicant tracking software can give you a greater ability to compete in the talent marketplace.

For more insight into this issue, tune in for our upcoming webinar, “Hiring Strategies for Social Causes,” on Feb. 17.

Jobscience | Beyond the Applicant Tracking System

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