In the midst of a global pandemic and social distancing measures, recruitment went from difficult to almost impossible, with in-person interviews out of the question. Now a post-COVID world finally seems within reach, it’s the perfect time to think about finding the best nonprofit talent.
With years of experience in the nonprofit sphere and executive leadership, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to do recruitment right here at NPCrowd. Here are our six top tips for the recruitment of nonprofit talent.
1. Consider remote work
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that more job roles can be performed online than we previously realized. If you truly want to attract the best talent to your organization, why limit yourself to people who live in the location you’re based in (or those willing to move) when you could open yourself up to the entire world?
Now a huge sector of the population has adjusted to remote working, there’s likely to be less tolerance for jobs that still demand employees to remain in the office.
Just make sure you make it clear in your job description that you follow remote-first principles, like not obliging the whole team to be connected from 9-5 and focusing on productivity over hours worked.
Of course, this won’t work for all job roles. People with certain positions need to be physically present, with anyone working in the frontline being an obvious example. However, there are also plenty of jobs that remote work is perfect for, such as accounting, website management, and grant writing.
2. Hire contractors and consultants
There’s clear value to having in-house workers – they’re more likely to be committed to your organization, reliable, and to understand how everything runs. However, we also recommend taking on contractors or consultants where possible. They too make great nonprofit talent.
Contractors give you far more flexibility since you can hire them over the short term for specific projects. In an increasingly uncertain world where the economy’s future and some sectors remain in peril, it’s more appealing than ever to have a little more leeway with your planning and budget.
Another advantage of contractors is that they’re often specialists in very tight niches. For example, instead of hiring a marketing professional who can help you with all aspects of the field, you can work with someone who exclusively runs Facebook ad campaigns or who only works within one specific sector.
3. Make your mission sound exciting
It’s helpful to think of the recruitment process as a sales or marketing exercise. Your aim isn’t to find the best talent out there, it’s to attract them by making the opportunity you provide seem as interesting as possible.
What’s the mission of your nonprofit? How do you hope to make a difference in the world, and how can the applicant feel like they’re playing a part in that?
Don’t just assume that labeling yourself as a “nonprofit” will bring the right people to you, or even the surface-level aim of your organization. Two nonprofits trying to tackle climate change might have a completely different vision – maybe one wants to use a technological solution while the other favors a zero-waste approach.
4. Offer compelling benefits
Although most people are drawn to working in the nonprofit sector to make a difference in peoples’ lives, that doesn’t mean that you can expect them to work for a measly wage. Don’t be that company that says it wants candidates motivated by altruism and not salary – our experience shows that it rarely goes down well!
Remember, spending more money on the best talent isn’t a sunk cost – it’s an investment! The best employees can help you bring more money through donations and partnerships, so don’t think too small.
But it’s not just the salary you can offer to appear more attractive to applicants. Other benefits like retirement plans, insurance, or flexible working opportunities are further possibilities. This helps not only in the recruitment but also in the retention of your nonprofit talent.
For instance, one non-profit offers 17 days of prorated PTO on day one of employment and 22 days of PTO for years 2-5. Include in that flex-schedules and/or flex-time so that staff can attend school events, performances, and life events.
5. Use social media and SEO
Recruitment is changing. Although placing an advert on a job board is a great place to start, it’s no longer enough. Go above and beyond to attract the best candidates by using SEO techniques to rank high on Google and social media to circulate information about the position.
To improve your SEO, make sure you choose relevant keywords – and possibly less competitive keywords – to bring in candidates searching for job roles on Google.
You can tweak your job description as you go by assessing how successful the advert is. Setting up a Google Analytics account allows you to see your bounce rate (how many people leave the page after viewing it) and other metrics. If your bounce rate is high, it’s an indicator that your job title or description are not enticing enough or not relevant enough to the role.
You can then target even more people by spreading the word on social media sites. Twitter and LinkedIn can both be good places to advertise a job post, especially if you ask existing employees to share the job post.
6. Consider more than just nonprofit experience
When you receive hundreds of applications for a role, your first instinct might be to discard anyone who doesn’t have relevant experience in a nonprofit. Yet through our work with nonprofits, we’ve learned that the best candidates often have no direct experience and come from entirely different industries.
People who have worked in the public and private sectors often have the right skill set to succeed in the nonprofit sphere too – and they might also have useful connections.
The world of nonprofit talent recruitment is no longer what it once was, and the recent pandemic has accelerated many trends. To stay ahead, your organization also needs to adapt.
Attracting the best talent is essential, but maybe not in the way you originally thought.
If you’re looking to expand your nonprofit’s reach as efficiently as possible (and why wouldn’t you be?), NPCrowd can help. Our website provides a directory of experienced, reliable nonprofit contractors and consultants you can hire to run successful projects without the limitations and risks of employees.
How do nonprofit organizations recruit? Nonprofit organizations recruit employees similar to any other organization, word of mouth, targeted recruiting campaigns, building a positive employer brand, leveraging personal and professional networks, online job postings, and constant relationship building.
Do nonprofits use staffing agencies? Yes, nonprofits use staffing agencies and recruiting firms. Staffing agencies are typically used to fill entry-level through mid-management roles. Recruiting firms are typically used to help find great candidates for Senior and Executive level roles. Finding top-caliber candidates is critical for high-value returns needed in a nonprofit setting. Agencies and firms are typically used mostly in medium to large-size nonprofits.
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