For non-profit organizations, attracting talent can be tough. Due to the nature of non-profits, compensation simply can’t be driven by the market. At the same time, non-profit organizations tend to offer non-monetary perks and benefits that can attract people who are seeking a more rewarding career beyond just a pay cheque. To find those special candidates who are looking to make a difference and stick around for the long haul, non-profit organizations need to take some vastly different steps than traditional employers to attract the best possible team members.
When it comes to typical recruiting, employers can expect a tremendous amount of responses when posting on major online job recruitment boards and websites. The same is true for non-profits, with the issue being that the vast majority of applicants are merely looking for a source of income, rather than actively looking to join that specific type of organization. That’s why non-profits tend to have more success seeking applicants through social media outlets.
For example, if you already have a Facebook page, you can post an ad there, and the people who see it are already be subscribed to view your content. Those are the people who are more likely to be interested in the position for the right reasons. Another option is to make posts with relevant hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. That ensures that your content is viewed by people who are already actively looking at those categories. You can also browse LinkedIn for people who have experience working for similar non-profit organizations.
Get Referrals from Current Employees
Because recruiting for non-profits does carry a bit more risk than normal hiring, sometimes it’s best to keep hires within the extended family. Talk to your current staff and see if they know anybody who might be interested in joining the team. Even if it’s a friend of a friend, hiring someone already associated with someone at the organization boosts accountability. If someone you trust can vouch for that person, there’s a good chance you’re looking at a valuable addition to your organization.
Know What You’re Seeking
Before you can create an effective job listing, you need to know exactly what you’re expecting from the applicant. Compile a list of the position’s duties, as well as the technical skills needed to perform them properly. You can also write down a list of personality traits and soft skills that you think would add to your organization in a positive way. At this point, decide where to draw the line as far as education requirements and schedule expectations. Make a list of tangible and intangible benefits that you can provide, and also acknowledge traditional perks that you’re not able to offer.
Be Honest and Direct
After you’ve made your list of prerequisites, create a recruitment listing. Your listing should look similar to the list you made. The goal is to give potential candidates a clear picture of what is required and what they can expect if hired. Candidates who meet that criteria can be scheduled for interviews. It is common for traditional employers to wait until the first or even the second interview to talk about salary, but in a non-profit setting you may have better luck being upfront with the salary on your recruitment listing. If applicants are already aware of the pros and cons of the job before interviewing, you’re not going to waste as much time interviewing people who may have a change of heart later.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about what you can’t offer, forgetting that you can offer numerous benefits that traditional employees don’t receive. For instance, it’s common for non-profit employees to wear many hats. Some applicants may be looking to add as much experience to their resumes as possible, and an eclectic workday is appealing to plenty of people. Another benefit of the non-profit environment is that employees can feel like they’re genuinely making a positive difference in the world. Be honest about the shortcomings of the job, but don’t forget to sell the positive aspects.
Ask the Right Questions
If you’ve created a direct, informative job listing and posted it in the right outlets, your applicants should be at least somewhat on the same page as you. The interviewing process is your chance to ensure that you see eye-to-eye. Besides asking the classic questions about skills and experience, try to find out what makes each applicant tick. Discuss reasons why the applicant is interested in your specific position and organization, and try to get a feel for what they’re like in their personal lives. If they’re genuinely passionate about the cause, you should be able to tell.
Talk to Other Organizations
Reaching out to your community is one of the most effective way to find non-profit applicants. If your current employees don’t know anyone seeking a career at a non-profit organization, you may find that talking to other non-profits in the area can expand your search range. You can also talk to employees at local colleges about developing partnerships that involve student volunteering. Even if a volunteer is only around on a temporary basis, it’s a great way to get the word about your organization to a broader audience while filling the immediate needs of your organization.
Network All the Time
Sometimes the best employees are the ones you simply run into by chance. When you’re socializing with friends, family members or new acquaintances, mention that your non-profit is seeking to hire people. You don’t need to make an elaborate pitch, sometimes just asking people to keep their ears open for reliable people is all it takes. Word-of-mouth networking often travels much further than you might assume, especially if you talk to the right people. Finding the perfect additions to your team can take time and effort, but keep at it and they’ll come along eventually.