Seven Keys Series: Competing for Nonprofit Talent
Nonprofit organizations are facing a shortage in a vital resource. No, we aren’t talking about financial resources (though we know that is certainly needed). Finding and retaining talented individuals that can help strengthen the mission and impact of the organization is critical. Nonprofits are finding individuals moving in and out of positions very quickly, either due to an internal promotion, a change of venue, or to move from the nonprofit to the corporate sector where pay and benefits may appear more attractive. So, how does a nonprofit recruit, retain, and develop talented individuals?
- Leverage the impact & mission of the organization. Nonprofits are not only in competition for dollars from donors and sponsors. They often find themselves in competition for talent as well. Just as a fundraiser may go to a donor with information about how their dollars will impact the organization, so too must the organization describe their purpose and how a potential employee might be able to advance that mission. Individuals with a passion for the nonprofit community will find the mission to be an important factor in deciding whether or not to work for your organization.
- Focus on growth. It is important for any nonprofit to regularly commit to a strategic planning process for their organization. As such, individuals working within your nonprofit should feel they have a voice in the direction of the organization and that they’re making a difference.
- Pay as competitively as possible. Many individuals who go to work in the nonprofit sector don’t do it for the pay, but it’s important for them to know they are being paid along a similar scale as their peers. If the pay scale is too far apart from other similar-sized organizations, it will be more difficult to not only attract talent, but also retain them.
- Increase employee engagement. While your organization might not be able to provide high monetary compensation, there may be other benefits that can be provided that don’t cost a tremendous amount financially. Benefits could include membership into professional associations, opportunities for further education, or mentorship/coaching opportunities.
While there is no secret formula that will help attract talented individuals, developing a strong work environment where employees feel they are making a difference will make your organization’s positions much more attractive and will help them to stay engaged.