Hiring is always a challenge but nonprofit organizations face additional hurdles when searching for great employees. While it’s a fulfilling endeavor working for an NPO, NGO, or another type of 501(c)(3) organization, it’s a vastly different experience than being an employee of a for-profit business.
However, hiring is a large part of the operations of NPOs, especially as they grow and progress toward their goals. According to Nonprofit Quarterly, an estimated 14.4 million Americans work in the sector as of 2013. That number represents a 14 percent uptick from the 12.7 million people who held NPO jobs in 2003.
Charities, foundations, associations, and similar organizations will face more competition for qualified workers as hiring continues to increase in the sector. But that is only one of the many challenges NPOs encounter when building their teams. Here are a few more to be aware of:
NPOs often ask a lot of their employees and can’t always provide the same in return. While for-profit businesses tend to have too many candidates to consider, nonprofits can struggle to attract great ones and retain them once they’re hired.
Now that we’ve covered the typical challenges NPOs face when hiring, let’s talk about how you can overcome them and find ideal candidates.
Hiring typical means finding someone with a specific set of skills to handle particular responsibilities. The difference for NPOs is that employees often wear a lot of hats instead of doing the same tasks day-after-day.
Because of that, it can be a good approach to look for someone who is passionate about your organization’s mission, rather than seeking a candidate with a certain skillset. If they have knowledge of the challenges at hand, they can bring smart ideas to the table. It also decreases the likelihood they’ll get discouraged or burnt out down the road, lowering turnover and preventing a future need to hire.
While skills aren’t overly important when hiring, experience certainly is. But that doesn’t necessarily mean past work history since people with unique life experiences can make great NPO employees as well.
When screening applicants, it’s of course a good idea to consider people who have previously worked, interned, or volunteered with an NPO. It also makes a lot of sense to meet with candidates who have been impacted by the problem your organization is taking on. Whether they’ve been directly affected by it or observed it second hand, you can learn about their perspective and the drive they’ve developed through the experience.
Many of the candidates who apply to your role will likely have a background in for-profit businesses and be looking to change their career path. As we highlighted at the beginning of this article, even though working for an NPO can be intrinsically rewarding, there are many downsides that can sometimes result in burnout.
It’s important to make sure transitioning professionals understand everything that goes into being an employee of your organization. Ask them why they are looking to make the move and what they expect in return. If their experience and background align with your cause and they understand the sacrifices they might need to make, it’s worth considering them for the role.
The overarching theme of this article is that your ideal candidates are different from the people a for-profit business would seek. That means posting your role on the major job boards will only be so effective. The NPO-specific job boards listed below will help you connect with the right candidates:
NPOs face numerous challenges when it comes to hiring great employees. With the right approach, you can overcome the challenges and find the right person for your organization.
Image courtesy of Ariel Lustre
Recruiterbox is considered the most user friendly hiring software on the market. If you’re ready to take your recruiting and hiring to the next level, request a Recruiterbox demo today.