The Importance of Nonprofit Recruiting
I have done my fair share of nonprofit recruiting and have hired a number of individuals through my long career. Each search was unique and, at times, tested my patience. Ideally, you want to keep good employees, but cannot always achieve this goal for a variety of reasons. In the last year alone, I found myself in a search where an employee left abruptly at the busiest fundraising time of the year, only to offer the position twice and have the offer accepted then rejected. In another case, a person left, and it took months to find a replacement. Everyone has horror stories of recruitment, but success in this area is important to your operation.
According to the “2016 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey,” while private sector growth remains stagnant, the nonprofit sector continues to project significant job growth. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 57% of nonprofits anticipated making a new hire in 2016. This represented a 7% increase from 2015. In this survey, 54% of nonprofits did not have a formal recruitment strategy and 71% did not have a formal recruitment budget. The report noted that if nonprofits are to attract and grow talent required to advance their missions, they must invest in human capital strategy.
What sectors make up the nonprofit industry? Those sectors are health services, education, social and legal services, civic and environmental advocacy, international relations and development, and arts and culture, according to Experience by Symplicity. Health care is the largest sector within the nonprofit industry in terms of economic value and employment. Nonprofit health care comprises up to half of all nonprofit revenue and employment, and it has the largest share of wages and salaries in the nonprofit industry. The nonprofit education sector includes colleges and universities plus other like institutions.
U.S. News and World Report points out that nonprofits are organizations that work to improve the common good of society in some way, typically through charitable, educational, scientific or religious means. They use all available revenue to serve the public interest in some way. The key profit for nonprofits typically is to have a positive effect on the world. Nonprofits often have fewer resources, which means workers have to wear many hats as super generalists. Individuals hired by nonprofits usually look for candidates who care about mission and see work as more than a job.
TED: The Economics Daily, provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, develops research data on employment, wages and establishment figures for nonprofit organizations. These figures provide an insight into this important segment of the U.S. Economy. In 2012, employment in nonprofit organizations was 11.4 million jobs, which was 10.3% of the total U.S. private sector employment.
The Balance suggests using the following ideas to develop your candidate pool: To recruit your ideal candidate, create a job description and establish questions for the candidates you interview. List five to 10 key responsibilities you will use to screen resumes. Spread word of mouth information about the position availability. Use professional networking and social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Ask your employees for referrals.
Take advantage of your industry contacts, association memberships and trade groups for recruiting candidates. Use your website for recruiting candidates. Maintain frequent contact with potential candidates. Seek to become an employer of choice for recruiting candidates and use the internet. Use headhunters and recruiters, plus employment placement firms. Find out where your ideal candidates live and target advertisements. Use organizational publicity to attract candidates.
According to Recruiting Times, use these methods when recruiting top talent:
- Improve your candidate pool when recruiting employees by actively searching for talent.
- Hire the sure thing when recruiting employees by matching the exact job with employees with the exact previous experience with results.
- Look first at in-house candidates as it boosts employee morale.
- Be known as a great employer.
- Involve your employees in the hiring process in various ways.
- Pay better than your competition.
- Use your benefits to your advantage in recruiting employees.
- Hire the smartest person you can find.
- Use your website for recruiting.
- Check references when recruiting employees.
ICIMS, in their publication “19 Recruiting Tips for 2019,” provided 19 recruiting tips for potential employers to consider. When thinking of recruiting, create a recruiting plan. Every employer eventually will have openings. What is your plan to fill these openings? These recruiting tips include master mobile recruiting, use solutions like TextRecruit, capitalize on video screening, use UNIFI as a single talent acquisition system, define your ideal hires, get the right recruitment marketing tools, stay ahead of skill gaps, watch labor trends, engage with job descriptions, invest in employee referrals, get your name in front of contingent workers, treat candidates like customers, embrace application strategy, inspire new hires before day one, create a coaching culture, be more visible, data your recruiting, ensure data is secure and share support and value with executives.
Finally, remember that recruiting employees is very important to their personal success and your potential job longevity. A good long-term hire is worth its weight in gold. A bad hire will only give you sleepless nights. Do not depend on your human resources team to help you as many HR departments do not provide you with the information and resources needed to hire individuals in our particular field. Talk to peers and colleagues and leave no stone unturned. The current job market is tight and potential employees can pick and choose. Have a recruiting plan and seek resources that will enable you to succeed in this endeavor. Happy hunting out there!
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.