6 Pillars of Nonprofit Talent Acquisition to Build a Future-Ready Organization Now

Having the right talent in the right roles is essential for nonprofit organizations to drive meaningful change. It can also be one of the most vexing challenges in nonprofit success: according to the Nonprofit Compensation Practices and Benchmarking Report, 56% of nonprofits say they are finding it difficult to recruit and hire qualified staff in today’s competitive marketplace.

One of the biggest reasons is compensation: 65% of nonprofits say candidates’ salary requirements exceed their budgeted pay range, and almost 50% say they lose candidates to a better offer from another employer.

Many nonprofits are now implementing more holistic, long-term talent acquisition strategies that focus on promoting mission, culture, and growth opportunities to differentiate against the competition. Here are six foundational pillars of talent acquisition to put in place now to help you better compete for talent.

Six Pillars of Future-Ready Talent Acquisition 

1) Build an Employer Brand

At its core, talent acquisition is marketing. Focus on building an Employer Brand that promotes not only your mission, but also being a wonderful place to work. For more than half of job seekers, culture trumps compensation in determining work satisfaction. Organizations with strong values, a healthy (and hybrid) workplace culture, collaborative teamwork, and opportunities for professional and personal growth, reinforce that you are an “Employer of Choice.”

2) Leverage Employees as Brand Advocates

Encourage your employees to be brand advocates by sharing within their networks and on their social channels how they enjoy working for your organization. Not only are 76% of people more likely to trust content shared by people they know; job applicants referred by employees have a higher conversion rate, greater job satisfaction, and longer retention. Encouraging your team to share positive experiences offers an “inside look” to potential candidates; and builds affinity, boosts morale, increases engagement, and improves retention for current employees.

3) Cultivate Leadership 

People increasingly want to work for companies that are willing to invest in their personal and professional growth, and over 90% of job candidates say learning and development opportunities are a deciding factor when considering job offers. Offering employees career development and a path to leadership not only attracts talented candidates but also builds the organization’s leadership pipeline to support future growth.

4) Monitor Reviews

Strong candidates research your organization before they apply. It is important to monitor evaluation platforms and address any critical reviews immediately and thoughtfully. Potential candidates reading those reviews are more interested in how you manage the critique than what was said. Be gracious, tactful, and forward-thinking.

5) Recruit Early

Eight out of ten professionals want to work for organizations that align with their values, especially Gen Z and Millennials. Nonprofits have a significant advantage with these demographics, and it is beneficial to start nurturing these relationships early. Reach out to colleges to connect with students across various majors or concentrations; get involved through mentorships, internships, classroom projects, or club visits to share stories of how rewarding it is to work for your organization.

6) Improve the Candidate Experience

It is extremely frustrating for candidates to be left in the dark, and with the average time to hire exceeding 60 days in over half of nonprofits, that is a lot of time for your ideal candidates to entertain other offers. Lack of communication also damages your employer brand. To avoid losing nearly half of candidates to another job offer, it is essential for nonprofits to streamline processes, keep candidates informed, and ask for their feedback on the hiring experience so that you can correct the processes and practices that lead to negative perceptions.

Taking the time to put these foundational pillars in place now can help you build an effective, holistic, and future-ready acquisition strategy that supports long-term growth.