How to Recruit Top Talent for Small Charities

In this day and age, small not-for-profit organisations face a particular set of challenges when it comes to hiring the best and the brightest candidates. The so-called war for talent is not a new concept, but with charities competing with for-profit organisations and national economic challenges, it seems that small charities have quite the battle to recruit.

So, to tackle this, here are some strategic steps your organisation should take to better recruit the bright minds of today and keep them for the long term.

1. Clearly State Your Organisation’s Purpose and Mission

According to a recent Deloitte study, millennials are looking for jobs that allow them not only to grow professionally but personally as well. They want to make a difference and work for purpose-driven organisations, and a not-for-profit organisation is a perfect environment for them.

Attract top talent by refining your mission statement and design your job descriptions and onboarding processes clearly to communicate your purpose and values. Make sure that you mention the various opportunities, tangible and intangible employees’ rewards as well as personal and professional development opportunities for mentorship and so on.

2. Start With Your Volunteers

We teach volunteers to give their best to turn from volunteers into employees, but this is a two-way road. Before searching the world for top talent, look into your pool of volunteers and make assessments on whether some of them would make the perfect candidates once put in the right positions. You already have the advantage of them sharing your purpose and mission.

You should further deepen the relationship with them by looking at their transferable skills, personal motivations, successfully implemented projects and so on.

3. Match the Employees’ Purpose with Your Organisation Mission

If you gathered a pool of potential candidates, it’s time to interview them. As you know, big corporations also hire for passion, motivation and talent more than for academic studies or past working experiences. And as a not-for-profit, you should look for personal motivators, interests, emotional intelligence, life experiences and skills/knowledge that match the purpose of your organisation.

Before hiring a “good on paper” candidate, use the interview to learn who people are, what they do and why they do what they do. Moreover, find out what else they know to do to help your charity grow according to their personal passions and skills.

4. Remember that you have to pay for top talent

The subject of employees salaries cannot be overlooked or swept under the rug. On the contrary, true talent is rewarded across all generations and industries. Of course, a small not-for-profit may not match that of an international brand or an IT corporation, but being competitive on the market doesn’t mean huge salaries.

If you want to go up against the private sector for talent, you need to consider augmented benefits: organisational traditions, a retirement safety net, training and education, career development opportunities. Human capital is the best capital a charity can have and investing in human capital means investing in the future growth of your people.

You should think outside the box of money and correlate what you know about your candidates from the interviews to match their personal purposes, interests, and motivations with the benefits you can offer.

5. Prioritise your need for talent

All job positions require talent and passion, but some positions are mission-critical. Identify the key positions that allow you to have the greatest impact and start filling them first with talented people. Small not-for-profits may have few team members, but that also means that everybody does a little bit of everything.

Identifying your most important positions and hiring people for them helps to get your organisation going, allowing you to focus on your top tier identification and recruitment process to also fill the other positions with the very best candidates.

Tags: employment, recruitment tips, small charities, top talent

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About the author

Addison Jenning

Addison Jenning works as an HR manager and believes that one of the most important things for a fulfilling work environment is the relationships between coworkers. She takes great care of selecting candidates that understand the company culture and that share the same values.