If you feel like it's gotten more difficult to recruit skilled employees for your company, you're not alone. In a 2022 survey of business leaders, 72% cited a lack of available talent as a major hurdle. Recruiting can be even more complicated for non-profits, which lack the big budgets of for-profit companies.
Streamlined recruiting is essential for non-profits, which rely on dedicated employees to maintain daily operations. A well-organized and strategic non-profit hiring process will allow you to find people who have the skills needed to get the job done and share your organization's charitable vision.
Below, learn about some of the unique challenges non-profits face when it comes to recruiting—and get some practical pointers on how to overcome these hurdles and create an effective non-profit hiring process.
How does non-profit hiring differ from other organizations?
A non-profit is a charitable organization that doesn't pay out profits to shareholders or board members. There are many classifications of non-profits, from child care organizations to social welfare organizations and volunteer fire companies.
Regardless of their focus area, all non-profits share one trait: They exist for a charitable cause. This makes them unique from for-profit companies, which generally exist to make money.
Compared to for-profit companies, non-profits face some unique recruitment challenges. Common issues that hinder the non-profit hiring process include:
- Limited budgets: Non-profits often have small budgets and can't rely on big salaries to attract top talent. This can make it difficult for non-profit employers to stand out in a competitive marketplace. Since non-profits only bring in enough revenue to be operational, they also can't offer perks like paying dividends.
- Small teams: Budget limitations also mean that non-profits tend to have limited human resources. Having smaller teams means that one individual has to wear many hats. Non-profits need multifaceted individuals who are able and willing to take on varied duties, which can be challenging.
- The "values" question: Non-profits are driven by a commitment to charity, so it’s important to hire people who share this vision and exemplify the organization’s values. This may mean recruiters need to look beyond hard skills and consider other aspects of an applicant's profile, like previous volunteer experience.
The hiring process
Hiring for non-profits is challenging—but it's not impossible! Follow these steps to ensure a streamlined and successful non-profit hiring process.
1. Assess the roles you need to hire for
Start by making a list of tasks you need help with. Then, determine whether existing people in your organization have the skills and capacity to handle those responsibilities. If not, use the list to shape the role you'll hire for. For example, say you want help with social media and cross-promotions—you might need to hire a marketing professional.
2. Put together a competitive compensation and benefits strategy
Once you've defined the role you need to hire for, figure out how much compensation and what benefits to offer. One way to do this is to scope out the competition. Research online job ads to see what other non-profits in your area are offering for similar job titles and tiers. If you can, offer more.
3. Write down the skills that you need for the role
Now, it's time to write your job description. Take the list of tasks you created in step one and translate it to the skills the person will need to succeed in the role. For example, if you want someone to run your social media accounts, you might want someone with experience in social media management.
Realistically, you won't find someone who ticks every single box on your list. It's helpful to break down the list into "must haves" and "nice-to-haves" so you know which skills to prioritize when vetting candidates. For clarity, you can also include this breakdown in the job ad itself.
4. Establish a strategy for advertising the role
Determine how much budget you have for advertising the role. Then, figure out where you can afford to place it and for how long. Popular non-profit job platforms include:
5. Determine what the interview process will look like
Creating a set process for interviewing will ensure clarity and consistency in the recruitment process. Decide who will be present in interviews—for example, a hiring manager and the direct lead who will be overseeing the future employee.
Also, decide how many interviews you'll run. For instance, you might interview five candidates and then narrow it down to two, then run one more round of interviews to make the final choice. Finally, consider creating an interview matrix that you can use to objectively compare candidates based on their hard skills.
6. Choose who makes the decision to hire
Before you start the hiring process, decide who will select the new hire. Will one person be responsible for signing off on the newcomer, or do multiple people need to agree on the chosen candidate? Determining this now can help avoid disagreements later.
International hiring adds another layer of complexity to the non-profit recruitment process: Not only do you have to pick the right person for the gig, but you also have to make sure you're giving them a salary and benefits package in line with local laws.
Oyster can help. As an end-to-end employee management tool, Oyster helps businesses remain payroll compliant in more than 180 countries.
Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, engage, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.
Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.