The Best Recruitment Strategies for Nonprofits

The best nonprofit recruitment plans invest in developing people who truly care about nonprofit work. It’s also benefits the organization and the organization’s social impact if talent acquisition and employee engagement processes not only reflect their mission but attract and retain the right professionals for the job.

Hiring the ‘right’ people for nonprofit work has always been the biggest challenge. Overall, nonprofits don’t offer the same compensation packages or salaries that for-profit organizations may offer. But the best nonprofit organizations understand that to achieve their mission and reach their goals, they need the right people on board the ship. Before setting sail, a nonprofit disembarks folks who are not a good fit and onboards key people in the right seats to ensure smooth sailing.

To fulfill their mission for social change, nonprofits need to acquire the right candidates just like any other for-profit organization. The best way to begin is to define and manage recruitment and retention processes. Here are a few strategies that support and create great nonprofit employees.

Create a hiring process that focuses on the candidate.

There’s a lot of competition for top talent. But how you manage the talent acquisition process can be the difference between consistently great hires or a revolving door. Think about the type of work culture great job candidates are attracted to and what strategies keep them loyal to an organization’s mission. What are the stand-out differences or reasons that make them choose your nonprofit over the competition?

When your nonprofit is looking at the candidate pool from a narrow frame of reference, it’s difficult to gain insight. To keep focus, conduct an employee survey to gather information about their experience with the hiring process. Ask what part of the process needs improvement. Ask them what they liked about the job candidate experience. Use the results to improve and strengthen your talent acquisition process and create a better hiring process.

Develop a stronger EVP (employee value proposition).

Employee value propositions characterize the value, rewards, and benefits employees enjoy when they work for your nonprofit. Using your nonprofit’s mission as a guide, create a simple, focused statement summarizing why a potential candidate would want to work with your organization. The ideal EVP not only differentiates your nonprofit from other similar nonprofits but also accurately merges ‘brand’ packaging to the contents inside. Many times, new hires join an organization swayed by an appealing message only to find that the reality of the organization is drastically different.

To find your nonprofit’s EVP, develop surveys from different aspects of the employee lifecycle: interviewing, onboarding, performance management, engagement opportunities, and exit interviews. Ask what benefits they value most, what elements of the workplace culture appeals to them, who or what helped them succeed in their position, and what they like most about working for your organization. From the results, determine key trends and draft an EVP statement that will be the basis of your hiring strategy.

Be strategic when building a consistent talent pipeline.

My Dad, a fishing aficionado, used to say, fishing from the same spot that’s gotten you no bites is like betting you’ll have a spam sandwich for dinner rather than trout.  When looking for talent, stop looking repeatedly at one job board hoping things will pan out, you may be overlooking top talent elsewhere. Only looking for talent in one area can lead you blindingly down the wrong road with little to show for it. To consistently have a larger-than-life talent pool, ensures the nonprofits’ future positions will have candidates ready and waiting.

Compile data from hiring sources to review where your nonprofit is finding the best talent. Review current high-performing employees and their backgrounds to determine other talent sources to use. Engage passive candidates on LinkedIn and other social media sites.

Analyze the workplace culture of your nonprofit.

Has the culture changed? Is it as you envisioned when you first took steps to create it?  Does your nonprofit benefit from tight-knit groups of people working together with a commitment toward a common cause? Is work-life balance now a priority? Are your internal practices consistent with what your nonprofit promotes to the community?

Determine what’s keeping your nonprofit from being the high-performing and effective organization you envisioned. First, build on the elements of the culture that work and get rid of what is holding your nonprofit back. Engage current employees to serve as talent recruitment ambassadors by creating an employee referral program. Nothing says a ‘great culture resides here,” like when it comes from current high-performing employees. It will bring a sense of authenticity when great things are revealed about your non-profit from within.

The LLF team of skilled facilitators, nonprofit experts, senior HR specialists, and legal experts have the know-how you need to help your leadership team develop and implement a strategic hiring process and secure the best talent. Call us today.


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