The Solution to the Struggles of Staffing a Nonprofit Organization

— Dec 3, 2019 —

Anyone who runs a nonprofit organization knows that resources can be spread quite thin. Even in large nonprofit organizations, every dollar matters, and this often means that people at the top of the organization wear many hats. When it comes time to hiring for a new position, or replacing an employee who is leaving, this can mean staffing too quickly in order to just get the position filled. Oftentimes this may result in overlooking many qualified candidates who might have been interested in the role, had you only had the time and bandwidth to perform a thorough talent search.

In truth, there are a number of challenges when it comes to nonprofit staffing, but there are also solutions. When you need to find the right people for your nonprofit, consider what hiring too quickly from too small a talent pool might cost you in the long run, and take the time to choose a better way to staff.

The Myth of Low-or-No Salary Nonprofit Jobs

Of course, one thing that makes staffing a nonprofit organization difficult is the belief among many that most nonprofit jobs are staffed by unpaid volunteers, or that those positions staffed by paid employees don’t offer competitive salaries. The truth of the matter is that just like in the private sector, nonprofits come in all shapes and sizes, with budgets to match. The salaries of employees at nonprofits are normally determined and approved in the same way they are in for-profit companies, by comparing them with similar positions at similar nonprofits in their location. Although budgeted salaries at a nonprofit are often lower than the for-profit sector, often the benefits are amazing and can bridge the gap of a lower salary. So, when reaching out to candidates, you need to promote the entire compensation package to successfully attract candidates to your organization.

Because many qualified job seekers aren’t aware that they could make a livable income in a nonprofit position, some candidates who would otherwise be interested in working for a nonprofit never take any steps towards doing so. The most effective way to break through to this large contingent of job seekers is through a staffing company skilled in recruitment for nonprofit organizations, such as C-Suite Assistants. A skilled staffing company can help you promote opportunities at your company to attract the talent you need.

A recruitment agency will be able to reach out to candidates who they know are looking for jobs similar to the one you need to fill and discuss salary requirements and benefits with candidates. Many applicants may be surprised regarding the compensation package your nonprofit can offer and will gladly apply for the position.

A Busy or Nonexistent HR Staff

Another problem many nonprofit organizations face when staffing is that they often do not have a ton of HR resources available. If your company has one overworked HR generalist, or no HR person at all, a senior manager or board member might be pinch-hitting to manage the recruiting process. As a responsibility that usually sits squarely in HR’s court in for-profit companies, recruiting can become a huge burden for managers.

The end result might be to take short-cuts in the hiring process. This can sometimes lead to promoting from within among employees or volunteers, an encouraged practice at many organizations, but not always the best solution. You may be selling your organization short if you never look outside of your immediate world and network when filling a position.

There is another way outsourcing recruitment to a qualified nonprofit recruitment agency can help. By taking this burden off of the shoulders of limited or overloaded HR or managerial personnel, your external recruiter may streamline and shorten the time to hire. A great nonprofit recruitment agency will be able to perform all of the necessary steps of a talent search, including:

  • Writing an attractive and accurate job posting
  • Scouting across a network of both active and passive candidates
  • Utilizing their knowledge of essential job skills to sort through applicants
  • Taking care of the initial phone screenings
  • Helping you craft proper interview questions
  • Consulting regarding competitive pay and benefits packages

Reaching Outside of the Nonprofit World

One way that nonprofit companies might miss out on amazing talent is by limiting their candidate search to the nonprofit sphere. Of course there is great talent in the nonprofit world, but if you want to find the absolute best match for your company and your position, consider casting a wider net. Although there are many qualified candidates out there who would love the chance to work at a nonprofit organization where they could make a difference, they have never considered applying for a nonprofit job because of their assumption regarding lower salaries. They have never considered it as an option.

The right staffing agency can educate, advocate and promote the role for you and attract very talented candidates. For example, we just placed an Executive Assistant from the private sector to support the Director of a Research Foundation at a large West Coast University. She is thrilled to be part of a team that is making history in ground-breaking medical advancements, and the Director is thrilled to have an assistant accustomed to the pace and hours the position requires.

By utilizing a recruitment agency that specializes in both for-profit sector and nonprofit staffing, you can gain access to a massive pool of talent. Your recruiter will have a personal relationship with many applicants and will be able to quickly identify candidates who are right for your company and mission and who also have the skill set needed for the job.

If you’re looking to staff any positions in your nonprofit firm, and want to find the absolute best fit, consider giving C-Suite Assistants a call. Our nonprofit recruiters in NYC specialize in staffing positions from administrative assistants through executive assistant roles. Our recruitment professionals will help you find the best talent for your position.

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