5 Tips for Nonprofit Recruiters

Written by Datis Admin

July 17, 2018

5 Tips for Nonprofit Recruiters

For recruiters and managers alike, there is nothing more satisfying than filling a vacant position with a qualified candidate that perfectly aligns with their organization’s culture. Vice versa, there is nothing more frustrating when they get it wrong. This is especially true for nonprofit recruiters, who fully understand the impact of a bad hire on their organization’s bottom line, productivity, and employee morale.

When it comes to nonprofit organizations, recruiters need to be more strategic about the way they go about sourcing, screening, interviewing, and hiring applicants. With often strict budgets and limited resources, nonprofits face unique challenges and hurdles that must be overcome to attract and retain top talent. According to the DATIS 2018 State of Workforce Management survey report, only 22% of nonprofit executives believe their organization does an ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ job at attracting top talent. Alarmingly, 41% of nonprofit executives report their organization does a ‘poor’ or fair’ job. Clearly, many nonprofit leaders see room for improvement when it comes to a recruiting strategy.

To improve strategy, reduce recruiting costs, reach more applicants, and hire qualified candidates, here are five tips for nonprofit recruiters to practice within their organization.

Emphasize Your Mission   It’s fair to say that most nonprofit organizations are comprised of employees that care more about the mission than the money. Keeping this in mind when creating the job listing and during the interview process is key to hiring a candidate whose personal values intersect with those of the nonprofit organization. Emphasizing the mission will also help applicants get a better understanding of the nonprofits goals and objectives during the application process.

Nonprofit employees are fueled by passion and the desire to help those in need. By educating potential candidates on the mission early in the recruiting process, nonprofit recruiters can narrow down their search to applicants that are passionate about their organization’s mission.  If a new hire that doesn’t align with the nonprofits mission when they are onboarded, they are more likely to be disengaged while at work.Innovative nonprofits are currently embedding videos directly into their careers pages to showcase their core values, and the mission they are trying to achieve. Small things like this make it much easier for applicants to understand the organization's goals and objectives, and determine if they;d be a good fit.

Make Applying Easy The more steps and barriers an applicant comes across when submitting their resume and application, the higher the applicant drop off rate. A recent article by SHRM highlights the fact that 60% of job seekers abandon job applications due to length or complexity. To put it simply, the easier it is for job seekers to apply for a nonprofit’s open positions, the more applicant’s nonprofit recruiters will have to choose from.

So how can nonprofits make their applications simple and seamless? Fortunately, there are recruiting tools available designed specifically for nonprofits that post open positions directly to the web’s top job boards. From there, job seekers that wish to apply to the nonprofits open positions will be automatically routed to the nonprofit’s personalized job board where they can quickly and easily progress through the recruiting process. Applicants can also create profiles using their existing LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ accounts to further expedite the application process.

Highlight Organizational Culture No-longer is culture a term only associated with Silicon Valley tech startups. Nonprofit executives now realize the importance of culture, and are now making serious changes to provide a better, more positive employee experience for their workforce. This is largely due to nonprofits’ inability to offer their applicants high salaries and attractive benefits packages. According to the DATIS 2018 State of Workforce Management survey report, over 52% of nonprofit executives claimed that offering applicants competitive pay and benefits was their biggest recruiting challenge.

For nonprofit recruiters, showcasing that their organization fosters a strong employee experience will help attract job seekers to apply for the open positions. This can be done by highlighting things like work-life balance, culture, career advancement, learning opportunities, and more. Emphasizing these features will also help applicants overlook a relatively lower salary compared to other industries.

Perfect Your Job Descriptions  Research has found that applicants spend between 49.2 to 76.7 seconds on average looking at a job listing online, with over 80% of job seekers admitting to spending less than five minutes reading a job description. This means that nonprofit recruiters have a short window to capture a job seeker’s attention, educate them on the position’s requirements and responsibilities, and encourage them to apply. To do this, nonprofit recruiters needs to spend time and resources on improving and perfecting their job descriptions.

A recent DATIS blog titled “3 Things to Remember When Writing a Job Description” discusses how recruiters can create job descriptions that speaks to the position, organization, and culture simultaneously. The article discusses the “Three C’s” to keep in mind when writing a job description, reminding nonprofit recruiters to keep them concise, clean, and consistent. Creating memorable job descriptions can be the difference in a job seeker applying or moving forward with another organization.

Setup an Internship Program Nonprofit internships provide a myriad of benefits for both the intern and the organization. Not only do they give students a chance to gain real-life experience outside the classroom, but it also provides nonprofit organizations with extra help without the costs associated with full-time employees. This is because many organizations work with the local colleges and universities to offer college credit as opposed to an hourly rate. Nonprofits can leverage interns to keep up with day-to-day tasks from operations to client facing duties.

DATIS created a guide titled, “How to Attract Talent to Nonprofit Internships” specifically for nonprofit recruiters. This guide discusses ways in which nonprofit organizations can establish themselves among other local businesses competing for college interns. The guide also goes into more detail about the benefits for students and the nonprofit when it comes to internship programs. For nonprofits that have not yet established their own internship program, check out the steps outlined by Internship.com to get one up and running.

Nonprofit recruiters face unique challenges when it comes to attracting, vetting, and hiring top talent. They must go above and beyond to make sure they are presenting their organization in the best light, and make sure that job seekers are considering their organization when they are in the application process.

For more information on nonprofit Recruiting, download the DATIS Recruiting Datasheet.

This DATIS Blog was written by James Clark, DATIS, on March 5th, 2018 and may not be re-posted without permission.