The right candidates are critical to any successful organisation, but especially in the charity sector where time, money and resources need to be spent wisely. Attracting candidates organically not only saves money but it also helps with employee retention, as you have the opportunity to hire people that are already aligned with the ethos of your organisation and have a desire to work for your cause. Something that many people seek in an employer is an understanding of the importance of sustainability and environmental awareness. Younger candidates, in particular, value eco-friendly businesses who do more for the planet and appreciate the importance of supporting social issues. Here are a few ways that charities can be more environmentally-friendly.
Assess your benefits package
Benefits packages are an effective way to attract candidates to a role, but if you can make those perks eco-friendly, it serves double duty in also highlighting your charity’s sustainability efforts. There are plenty of non-cash benefits you can offer that can help to attract top talent, from cycle-to-work and e-vehicle to salary sacrifice schemes. Pension schemes can also be made greener, providing a benefit to candidates and the planet. You could even consider offering a day’s paid or unpaid leave per year for employees to volunteer for their favourite green project.
Go green with packaging
Products are a large part of how so many charities fund their operations and support causes, but packaging waste can be huge—not just in the creation of these products but how they arrive with supporters. For example, donation bags should be made recyclable, wrappers on the likes of Christmas cards and calendars can be removed, and clothing can be shipped in compostable packaging to minimise the waste from these items.
Think reusable and recyclable
From the software you use to the technology and furniture in your premises, there are many ways to make more sustainable choices. Partnering with suppliers and businesses that prioritise the environment enhances your own efforts in going green and helps charities to reduce their carbon emissions over time.
For example, SumUp, a business providing affordable payment solutions, offer a recycling service for their old card readers to ensure they’re disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way, in compliance with the WEEE directive. Likewise, Hewlett-Packard have made great strides in reducing carbon emissions by offering an intensive recycling programme and reusable ink cartridges that help customers cut back on waste.
Encourage individual contributions
For charities, inspiring people to contribute to a larger cause is all in a day’s work. But it’s something that can really go in your favour when it comes to attracting candidates to the team. Supporting people to make contributions to environmental issues provides a sense of agency, which can often be difficult for people to find in a role.
As an employer, charities can (and should) encourage workers who are passionate about sustainability issues to get involved directly, whether that’s taking on the organisation of the charity’s environmental policies or planning local or online events. Young workers and volunteers are passionate about social and environmental causes, and being able to take an active role as part of their work can be a real selling point for savvy applicants. It’s also worthwhile creating a green team that can come up with new ideas on how the charity can do more for the environment.
Promote your sustainability efforts (without greenwashing)
If you want to attract candidates that care, you need to show the world you do too. Naturally, as a charity, there will be a specific cause that you’re focused on, but that’s not to say that you can’t make room for conversations around sustainability too. Sustainability is something businesses can’t fake—customers and employees will see right through greenwashing, and so if the environment is truly important to your charitable endeavours, it needs to be conveyed in an authentic way.
Make sure that your green mission and social values are clearly stated on your website, but also on pages where candidates are more likely to see the information, such as your About Us page, Careers pages and in blogs or on social media. These are the areas where someone interested in joining your team will go to learn more about what you do and how you do it, so it’s essential that you make it clear that your charity is working towards sustainability.
Set carbon zero targets
Actions speak louder than words, so if you’re aiming to attract candidates through sustainability efforts, you need to be taking genuine steps towards being a more environmentally-friendly charity. Committing to becoming a carbon net zero charity by a set date is a challenge but one that shows people looking to join the organisation that you’re serious about the importance of sustainability.
There are various ways that charities can achieve this, such as making use of digital technology to host virtual events to increase accessibility and lower the carbon footprint of campaigns, switching offices to renewable energy and energy-efficient technology, and providing training to ensure that teams are up to speed on how to be eco-friendly.
While there are certainly some trade-offs when it comes to making sustainable choices, whether that’s time or money, charities genuinely looking to make eco-friendly swaps will benefit in the long-term. In an increasingly competitive recruitment market, charities looking to attract the very best candidates can set themselves apart by highlighting their commitment to the environment.