Top Tips for Running a Strong Nonprofit Hiring Campaign

by Staffer Team

Due to the natural constrains of nonprofit organizations, it is even more important to ensure that the hiring process is done efficiently, and reaps the best candidates for the senior roles. Consider the following tips to build the strongest hiring campaign.

Rate your existing team against your organization's mission

  • Understanding what talent already exists on your team can provide an important lens into what your organization really needs
  • Failure to do an assessment can lead an organization to hire for skills it might already have or for abilities that are not as critical to the organization

Can you meet your need by promoting someone?

  • "All good organizations look to promote first before they look to hire; it's smart business, it's good for morale, and it's cost effective" - Tom Friel
  • Look across the organization and move people around to their greatest need, and give people opportunities to get promoted

Create a realistic job description

  • Consider setting a top limit, then exploring other non-monetary opportunities to attract candidates
  • The ability to work from home, day care, extra vacation time and education assistance are a few options
  • "Find something that has great perceived value to one party and low perceived cost to another, and give them that with great fanfare" - Tom Friel

Agree on "must-have" requirements

  • Create clarity on what is required, what is highly desired, and what would be nice to have
  • Have 3-4 "must-haves" that are thoughtfully chosen and critical for the role
  • Use your this criteria to filter candidates

Sell the role

  • Project your passion for the mission and cause of the organization
  • This step is focused on evaluating candidates against your mission

Ask yourself:

  • What would a great candidate want, and can we provide it?
  • What might be frustrations that candidates are feeling in their current roles?
  • How might our opportunity address those frustrations?

Establish a strategy

  • How will you find the best candidates?
  • If you opt to handle recruiting internally, how much time will it take? Who will be involved? How much might it cost to engage those internal people in the process?
  • The average time for hiring the right candidate in a senior-level position at a nonprofit is 90 days - create an appropriate timeline

Who will interview candidates?

  • Be sure to be clear about the time commitment individuals will need to make and their roles in the process
  • The same people should interview all candidates so there are fair comparisons
  • Everyone on the team should have something specific to do to avoid redundancy¬†


  • Who on the team will be part of the decision-making process?
  • Who will negotiate and close?
  • Who will manage the process and communication with the team and with the candidates?

Stay flexible!

  • As a very human process, there will be many unpredictable factors
  • Keep everyone focused on the goal, not the frustrations of the process

Close the search professionally

  • Thank candidates that were not chosen
  • Offer to add them to a mailing list as a way to stay in touch with the organization - if they are truly passionate about the mission, they will continuously look for jobs

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