Staffing at nonprofits can be a challenge

August 29, 2013

Staffing at nonprofits can be a challenge

While volunteers, donors and board members can make big contributions to a nonprofit, it is the day-to-day staff that is the real reason why many organizations are able to support their mission. Having poor hiring processes can make it difficult for nonprofits to recruit the most skilled workers and grow their operations. One issue that can be a deciding factor in whether top talent decides to work is salary, and nonprofit decision-makers have to be ready to put in a solid offer.

According to recent research from CareerBuilder, more than half of job seekers will negotiate salaries when they receive an initial job offer, while workers older than 35 years old are most likely to present a counteroffer when discussing employment within an organization.

Nonprofits should have competitive compensation
Some employees will be willing to give nonprofits a slight break on salary because they support the cause of the organization. But, nonetheless, it's important for nonprofits to offer salaries that are in line with other organizations. One-third of employers are currently basing pay off the insights collected by looking at postings from other entities, while 48 percent will simply discuss salaries with potential employees during the first job interview.

"Forty-nine percent of hiring managers surveyed said job candidates have refused offers due to salary," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "It's critical that recruiters and hiring managers are armed with up-to-date compensation data. If you offer premium talent below market rates, it can be very difficult to fill vacant positions."

Create a streamlined hiring process
Salaries are just one aspect of recruitment that can be difficult for hiring managers at nonprofits. Before any hiring takes place, organizations should have a set process. Here are some tips from The Bridgespan Group on how nonprofits can create a plan for hiring employees:

  • Decide on the interview process: Nonprofits that are adding top-level staff members may want to have candidates meet with the board of directors before offering them the position. However, entry-level team members may only have to meet with their managers before getting hired.
  • Make sure new hires can support the mission: Working at a nonprofit is slightly different than seeking employment at a regular business. Hiring managers must ensure candidates understand the unique cause of the organization.
  • Always remember to stay flexible: Nonprofits are usually thinly staffed, and employees are often moved around to supplement others. Keeping this in mind can make it easier to decide on the right staff members.

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