Summer is here and nonprofit organizations, large and small, are engaged in strategic planning as rebuilding begins. Many are tackling sustainability issues, restructured operations, fundraising challenges, and staffing changes—often in development, management and leadership roles.
The current, and growing, challenge to old hiring patterns is evident in the radically changed marketplace for top talent. In February of this year, the number of nonprofit jobs dropped to 12.48 million or approximately 7.4% fewer jobs than 10 months ago1. Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported the drive to get people back into office is clashing with workers who’ve embraced remote work as the new normal. A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. The generational difference is clear: Among Millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%, according to the poll.
So what are organizations facing and what do nonprofits need to do to survive and growth in this new marketplace?
If you are planning to hire and are waiting to do so, you may find yourself facing a trio of challenges, including the departure of good talent, the loss of valuable time, and a highly competitive marketplace.
1. The Departure of Talent and the Cost of Vacancies
Positions that remain unfilled for three months or more are considered “vacancies.” Every organization experiences vacancies at one time or another but too many vacancies weaken an organization’s capacity to deliver programs and services. Vacancies in development, marketing, and fundraising events management are especially costly in today’s environment.
2. Recruiting & Hiring Solutions to Reduce the Loss of Valuable Time
There are practical ways to accelerate your timetable, keep an increased emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, and hire the best people for the positions you are planning to fill. One solution, used by many nonprofit managers is to hire an Interim Professional.
An Interim Professional immediately brings to you a highly skilled and experienced professional to serve on a limited contract basis until you find the right person to fill the position long-term. No time is lost, and an experienced leader in change management may be just the person you need to lead your organization out of the pandemic.
Another solution is what we refer to as Temp-to-Hire, an option that many nonprofits are finding attractive and compelling. Temp-to-Hire allows you to try a candidate. If the candidate isn’t the right one for your organization, you have no commitment to hire.
A third solution is to initiate a Fast-Track Search, which allows you to quickly access candidates available from past searches who are outstanding and ready to go.
3. Addressing the Highly Competitive Marketplace
The more quickly you step into the marketplace to hire, the better your chances are of filling your vacant positions. Just like inflation, the longer you wait the higher the cost, and the more aggressive the competition becomes for a limited pool of talent.
As we move toward the Fall and Winter, nonprofits will be facing fierce competition for business development and fundraising candidates, in particular, to prepare for non-virtual fundraising galas. The longer you wait to fill these positions, the more difficult it will be to find candidates of your choice, and, higher compensation will most likely be required. Now is the time to plan your future staff needs, and to put into place a strategy and timeline for hiring talent for your organization.
All of the above options can help you transition out of the pandemic smoothly, reduce the cost of vacancies, and find the best talent for key operational positions.
This past year was challenging yet transformative for many nonprofits. Staying competitive in the hiring market will be one of the biggest challenges nonprofits face this year, and creativity in controlling vacancies will be critical. Those who act now will likely gain large advantages in the years to come.
1 Report by Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University
Gayle Brandel is President/CEO of PNP Staffing Group, the first staffing firm to provide talent exclusively to the nonprofit sector. Prior to founding PNP, Gayle served in a financial and business management capacity in numerous leading NYC nonprofit institutions. She is an experienced leader in strategic talent management and capacity building recruitment for nonprofits.
Gayle is a strong believer in the power of nonprofits to make a difference in people’s lives and is proud to partner with organizations to help make that difference. She sits on several nonprofit Boards, has authored numerous articles on hiring, retention, and professional development for publications in the sector, and is an in-demand speaker at nonprofit and for-profit events and conferences. Gayle holds an MBA from Fordham University and a Masters in Art.