3 Recruiting Tips for Finding Top Nonprofit Talent

Brandon Benjamin
Brandon Benjamin  |  August 27, 2018

Within the nonprofit space, hiring top-tier nonprofit talent can be quite a challenge. 

Furthermore, it can be a strain for smaller nonprofits to find the time to recruit along with maintaining their day-to-day tasks. How can organizations build an effective nonprofit talent pipeline and ultimately further their capacity building?

Fortunately, with a collective recruiting strategy approach from your team and some creativity, the road to recruiting success can be greatly simplified. Let's take a look at 4 recruiting tips for sourcing nonprofit talent at your organization.

Utilize SEM tools in your nonprofit recruiting search

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) in the nonprofit space has incredible potential, especially in the development sector. With respect to advertising in the career space, however, the competition can be quite hefty from companies like Indeed, Glassdoor, and other job listing companies. There is still significant potential for nonprofits to find success in the world of SEM for sourcing nonprofit talent.

By utilizing free SEM and SEO software tools such as Moz Keyword Explorer, AdWords Keyword Planner & UberSuggest, you can aggregate significant insight into the keywords of your job posting (where keywords are words or phrases job searchers are using, such as "database administrator positions" or "director of development roles"). Armed with search volume and competition data, you can make educated decisions about how to proceed with phrasing your job title listing.

As mentioned earlier, SEM won't provide a scalable way to source from the nonprofit talent pools out there. However, you may be pleasantly surprised with what you can accomplish with a strategic Google Ads campaign, geared towards hyperlocal keywords and/or long-tail searches (such as "Raleigh Database Administrator Positions" or "Director of Development Roles in San Francisco"), especially for the price and competition of these terms.

Be sure to let the data drive your campaigns and think carefully about what your willing to pay to fill the role. Identifying how much salary, benefits, training, and other costs amount to will provide some context as to what you should invest in Search Engine Marketing. Finally, be sure your careers and job pages are indexed (they appear in a Google Search), and utilize the terms you found to be the most relevant to specific roles within nonprofit talent sector.

Prioritize the LinkedIn in your nonprofit recruiting strategy

LinkedIn is a premier source for job searchers for multiple reasons and you can get in front of this traffic with a few simple steps. Initially, you should have a LinkedIn Company profile and list the appropriate positions you're looking to hire. LinkedIn leverages data of professionals across the world to provide key insights about company growth, potential salary ranges, and ultimately plays an important role in how your organization's workplace is perceived on the web.

Employees and even board members can move the needle on LinkedIn for your nonprofit by listing their role at your organization. Searchers on LinkedIn are able to quickly find how many employees are at a job, and more importantly if they are connected to any current professionals at your organization. This can go a long way for catalyzing referrals and ultimately finding the best nonprofit talent.

Another underutilized feature on LinkedIn is boolean search, a powerful tool that allows you to segment LinkedIn's users by their location, title, and even experience with certain software if it's listed in their profile. For example, if you're looking for someone with executive experience in a development role, in Atlanta, with a particular skill set, that search would resemble this:

("Development" AND ("Executive" OR "Director")) AND "Major Gifts" AND "Atlanta"

This query first finds all LinkedIn users with the keywords "Executive" or "Director" in their profile, as well as the phrase "Development". It then includes those with "Major Gifts" experience in Atlanta. This would target professionals who have titles such as:

  • Director of Development
  • Executive Director Of Development
  • Senior Development Director
  • Executive Director
  • Development Director

With boolean search, you’ll have a significant leg up in narrowing you nonprofit talent pool. If you have any first- or second-degree connections with these folks, you can easily ask for an intro or commence the introduction process directly within LinkedIn.

Motivate applicants with a descriptive nonprofit job description

Now you have a strong talent pool of nonprofit professionals you want to begin targeting. You're also getting some traffic from less competitive keywords and some content marketing. This is the perfect time to read the job description of the role your nonprofit is looking to fill and ask if it's truly conducive of the professional you're looking to target.

You can get some actionable data on this by setting up a Google Analytics account (if you don't already have one), and look at the bounce rate of the page containing your job application (how many people leave the page after viewing one page). Use this as a guiding metric for what content job searchers are engaging with the most.

Besides continually optimizing for the best usage of keywords and content structure, your description should motivate a candidate to be involved in the mission of your nonprofit. By succinctly describing what the culture of your organization is, what tools a candidate will have to carry out their function, and ultimately how will they make an impact for your nonprofit can galvanize applicants to join your team. Research how other organizations usually post for this role and you may be able to easily detect patterns that may not invite the most qualified or passionate applicants you're looking to target.

Nonprofit organizations are amazing places to find a passion and make a career for oneself. With the right strategy and implementation of these tips, your organization will be well on its way to sourcing amazing nonprofit talent and furthering your mission with great human capital.

Nonprofits can look to recruiting software to add into their nonprofit software suite strategy to help consolidate their hiring needs.

Brandon Benjamin
Author

Brandon Benjamin

"Brandon is the Growth Marketing & Content Strategy Lead at Giveffect, an all-in-one nonprofit software. He loves reading up on growth marketing, slicing up data sets and attending tech conferences. In his spare time, you'll find Brandon watching soccer matches, reading medium, learning Python and being a Kaggler."