How to Attract the Right Nonprofit Talent for Your Organization

Spoiler alert: we’re hiring. We’ve had some amazing applications come in, and it got me thinking about the hiring process at nonprofit organizations. We’ve also had countless inquiries from people whose hearts are in the right place, but don’t necessarily fit the job description.

But let me tell you, nonprofit professionals, there is a person out there who is the right fit for whatever nonprofit job you’re trying to fill. You just need to do a few things to make sure you find them. Check out these ways to find the right balance of passion and experience.

Passion Isn’t Optional or Exclusive

First and foremost, passion is necessary for your applicants. For example, I like to write. However, that doesn’t mean I like to write about everything. At a previous job, I once had to try to write about a highly technical process that I didn’t fully understanding and wasn’t interested in. I dragged my feet writing that article until I couldn’t anymore because of a deadline. It was a painful process.

What’s different now that I am writing at Nonprofit Hub? I can get behind writing for nonprofit organizations because I love them and their missions. But if you give me a topic to write about that doesn’t interest me, I’m going to take much longer to write it (plus if that’s the case, I’m probably not spitting out any pulitzer-winning content). It doesn’t matter if your applicant has the skills if they don’t have passion, because it will be evident in their work.

On the flip side, it’s easy to mistake passion for the perfect candidate. But that’s why passion can’t be the sole motivator for your hire. That is, unless you’re confident you can teach a passionate hire the skills (and you have the time to do so). Check out Nick’s article about why passion isn’t enough for your board members. The same can apply to staff.

Vamp Up the Job Description

Boring will get you nowhere in the talent search. You could have the most exciting job available, but if the description sounds boring you won’t attract the right talent.

If your organization is a new startup with a more relaxed culture, make sure you convey that with the description. If you work for a traditional organization, make sure you convey that. But just because you work for a traditional organization doesn’t mean you can’t write compelling copy.

Ask yourself—if I didn’t already work at this organization, would this description compel me to apply? Send it to a few friends who don’t know your organization well and have them read it over. Ask a complete stranger for input.

Plus, I have a secret you should always remember: We have a HUGE advantage over other industries: people want to have a job they feel good about, and nonprofit organizations can offer that. Play that up in your job description, benefits and promotions when you’re on the prowl.

Get the Word Out

The more people who see your killer job description, the better. Sure, you’ll have more applications to weed through (and rejection letters to send), but you also have more qualified candidates.

LinkedIn has some great features your organization can use to spread the word. You should also share on your Facebook page and ask others to share. The more shares you have, the more likely you are to reach people you don’t immediately know about.

It’s time to take this knowledge and get out there to attract not just any ol’ person, but the right person for your organization. Because that’s what your NPO deserves.

And quick, apply to work at Nonprofit Hub!


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

May 19, 2015

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