April 6, 2020
Recruiting for Nonprofits on a Budget

By Molly Richter and Rodney Byrd

Molly Richter and Rodney Byrd
Finding the right people is mission-critical for nonprofits, and operating with limited budgets means those organizations must be especially creative and resourceful if they are to locate the best candidates.

According to the 2017 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey conducted by Nonprofit HR, the number one talent challenge faced by surveyed nonprofits is hiring qualified staff within their budget constraints. Fortunately, there are many budget-friendly recruitment resources already at your fingertips. Here are some best practices for recruiting on a budget:

Your Organization’s Website
In addition to being user-friendly for your primary constituent population and your donors, your website must be easy to navigate for people exploring employment and volunteer opportunities. Recruitment starts with the first interaction with a prospect, and that is usually when they visit your website. Make sure a “Get Involved” or “Join Us” button is visible prominently on your homepage that links to a dedicated Career page.

If you don’t typically have a lot of positions open, you can also use this page to recruit volunteers. If you have an online job application, make sure the link cannot be missed or overlook. Include photos of your staff ”“ preferably ones where they look happy to be there! Include contact info for HR. Make sure your site is responsive (phone and tablet compatible) for ease of use by the growing number of younger job seekers accessing it solely via their mobile devices.

Make sure your organization has a company page on LinkedIn and that the information is complete. At a minimum, this should include your logo, a cover photo, a paragraph or two in the About Us section, and a link to your website. Post new content on a weekly basis, including open positions, pictures from recent events, links to relevant news articles, and connections to local/national/international events. This keeps people engaged with your brand and you will be more top of mind when they’re thinking about new career opportunities.

In addition to a company page, each member of your senior leadership—and especially your CEO/executive director—needs to have a personal presence on LinkedIn. This is an opportunity for you to distinguish your organization and engage prospects. When there is a key position that needs to be filled, you can search through your connections and find potential candidates.

Facebook is the most used social media platform in the world. According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of all U.S. adults report using Facebook. Your organization must have a Facebook page with your logo, a cover photo, a link to your website, an About section, and basic contact information. You can edit and reuse the content you have posted to LinkedIn here, but you need more of it. Best practice says you should be posting to Facebook on a daily basis.

Many of your staff are on Facebook. Encourage them to share posts from your main page ”“ particularly those around open positions. Employee referrals are one of the top sources of quality hires, so utilize your team. See more on this below.

3rd Party Websites
Glassdoor is a popular website that allows current and former employees to publicly post company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary and benefits information, interview questions, and office photos. If you haven’t checked your Glassdoor profile, you need to, because your prospective employees are doing so. Your organization likely has a profile ”“ whether it was created by someone on your team or not. You can create an account and manage your company’s profile for free, which allows you to add a logo, respond to positive and negative reviews, post updates, and monitor some basic analytics.

College Job Boards
In the past, each college had its own careers website. Today, there are platforms servicing multitudes of colleges at once, making job posting much more efficient. The main player in this space is Handshake, which supports over 475 colleges and universities representing over 8 million students and recent alumni. You can create a job posting once and then share it with as many colleges as you choose ”“ for free! You can also stay informed about career fairs and other on-campus recruitment events.

Your Staff/Board/Volunteers
The individuals currently connected to your organization can be your most powerful recruitment advocates, since each of them have their own personal and professional networks. Someone just two or three degrees separated from you could be the ideal candidate for the role you’re trying to fill.

Make it easy ”“ draft an email with a summary about the open position, a link to the full description and include directions on how to apply. Then send that to your entire staff/volunteer/board list and ask them to please forward it on to their networks.

Molly Richter, senior officer, development staffing at Partners HealthCare, recruits development professionals for the fundraising offices across its system. Find her on LinkedIn or email to mrichter1@partners.org

Rodney Byrd, human resources and recruitment manager at TSNE MissionWorks, provides recruitment and general human resources guidance and support to TSNE and its fiscally sponsored nonprofits. Find him on LinkedIn or email to rbyrd@tsne.org

April 2018

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