Challenges of Nonprofit Recruiting

by Staffer Team

Nonprofit recruiting is more challenging and differs from for-profit efforts to find talent in major ways.  Nonprofits face significant economic and competitive challenges, as federal rules limit tax incentives for charitable giving by individuals, and vouchers and tax credits extend to for-profit firms that will enter, and ultimately dominate, fields in which nonprofit providers formerly held sway. Here’s why nonprofit recruiting can be so difficult:: 

Limited Recruiting Budget

  • NPOs might be limited to only advertising on free job boards or not using a third party agencies
  • This makes these jobs more difficult to find for candidates that are time-pressed
  • Hiring responsibilities may fall on an existing employee such as the human resources manager
  • Salary structure is typically significantly lower than for-profit companies

Hire with a Focus on Inclusion and Diversity

  • May result in a narrow hiring pool
  • Emphasized importance of building and nurturing strong networks and connections

Tendency to Hire Internally

  • It's easier and financially less risky for the organization
  • Relies on existing talent and fails to attract new workers to the field
  • If an effort is not made to build a pipeline of new workers, nonprofits could continue to struggle to replace employees lost through attrition due to retirement


In order to reach millennials in the recruiting process, strategies should emphasize their overarching mission and the constituents they serve. Talent Economy says 75% of millennials would take a pay cut to work at an organization whose mission they can stand behind. Coupling this strategy with a proactive and strategic sourcing effort that seeks external candidates for future hiring needs is the best way for nonprofits to collect strong talent.

Recruiting Times suggests the following five methods for recruiting candidates, whether your organization is nonprofit or for-profit:

  • Increase your pool of candidates by proactively searching for talent.
  • Increase retention by matching the exact job to the exact candidate credentials.
  • Be known as a great employer. Nonprofits can build their brand by using social media to promote their organization not just to potential donors but also to potential job candidates.
  • Involve employees in your efforts to find the perfect candidate. Ask internal teams to share job ads with their social networks.
  • When possible, offer better pay and perks than the competition.


If your nonprofit needs help with recruiting and hiring strategies, check out Staffer.cc!