An organization is only as good as the people who work there, so finding the best and brightest nonprofit financial management talent is critical. Strong finance leaders can help your organization manage its money so that you can serve more constituents and use your margin to fulfill your mission.
But where do you find the next group of leaders for your organization? Many nonprofits struggle through the hiring process. Here’s how to improve your hiring process to recruit and hire top talent.
Recruiting Is an Ongoing Action
Think about top-rated athletes and sports teams. Wouldn’t it be funny if they simply put out an ad on a website: “Wanted: Quarter Back for NFL Team.” Not only would they be inundated with ill-qualified responses, but there would be thousands, perhaps millions, of people lining up, sending in resumes, and putting their qualifications out there for such a coveted spot.
No, sports teams never stop recruiting. They send talent scouts to the minor leagues or to college campuses to watch young players in action. Recruiters follow good players in the news, on social media, and even meet with them to gauge their interest in joining their teams. It takes months and years to find the best athletes in the nation and to hand-pick the ones teams want to try out.
Companies who want the best people for their staff must also continuously recruit. Most companies are reactive rather than proactive when it comes to recruiting. They wait until there’s a vacancy, then they dust off the job description and post an ad on a website. Then they wonder why they can’t find the best people for the job.
Like a professional sports team, your organization should always be recruiting. It sounds difficult, but you can make it part of your team’s daily work if you include these recruiting tasks in your typical workday.
- Network with professors and local colleges: These are akin to the minor leagues of your profession. Get to know the colleges and the professors teaching in the departments that produce graduates for your specialty area. Once you know the professors and they know your organization, they will be more likely to refer people to your company when you’re recruiting.
- Develop broad talent networks: Where did you find your best employees? Consider making those routes a priority as you cultivate your talent networks. Joining local business associations and groups is one way to build your talent network. The more people you know, the better the opportunity to find help when you need it.
- Offer apprenticeships: In olden days, newcomers to a profession worked as apprentices to the smith, the baker, or other skilled professions to learn the trade. Although apprenticeships are rarely heard of today, you can begin an apprentice program for specific nonprofit skills such as your internal auditing team or your fundraising team. Paid apprenticeships and internships are a great way to find potential candidates for entry-level positions, and your organization will become known as a place that values and helps newcomers to the profession.
- Consider a competition: A competition for the best fundraising ideas or other plans may be just the thing to bring really talented candidates to the forefront of the talent pool. Think about the ways in which a competition may be helpful to your company to find and assess potential employees.
- Promote your company brand: Companies and organizations have an employment “brand” that helps them develop a reputation in the industry for their workplace. Your company’s workplace has its own style; formal, informal, casual, open, etc. You also develop a reputation for what you do, whether it is an environmental, political, or other cause, a membership organization, or some other nonprofit focus. Understanding and promoting your organization’s workplace brand throughout the year is another way to keep recruiting. By the time you get to posting that ad, candidates will have heard of your organization and what it is known for and may be eager to join.
The next time you have a vacancy, don’t panic. If you’ve taken these steps to heart, you’ve always been recruiting. It will be much easier to pick from among a small, well-known talent pool than to recruit among strangers. You may even have people vying for a job with you if you’ve really handled recruiting well. Always be recruiting!
Beck & Company
Beck & Company is a certified public accounting firm serving the greater Washington D.C. area and the Eastern seaboard. We offer consulting services, auditing, and software selection to help nonprofits with their accounting needs. Contact us today for more information or assistance.