Nonprofit Development Trends in Hiring and Recruitment
This is year, more than we have ever seen before, is the time to switch from corporate employment to working at a nonprofit if you are considering to do so. It used to be that no one could simply slide over and start working at a nonprofit, even if you had been working at the most sought after for-profit corporations.
The landscape is changing. In 2018, executive recruiters and human resources professionals saw more cross-over candidates from the for-profit sector become successful candidates and land new not-for-profit jobs more than any other year over the past thirty years. The needle has moved. Even more are expected in 2019.
Now, don’t get too excited. To make the big switch to nonprofit leadership candidates still need to be have been volunteers in the past, or sat on a board or two. But for the first time, being driven by the need for technology innovation, and marketing gurus to implement development plans, nonprofit boards and executive directors are puling the trigger on more tech/for-profit experienced talent than ever before.
There is somewhat a panic for organizations with aging and declining membership and donor bases who are desperate for people claiming to have answers for the changes in the competitive market; they have the baby boomer donors blues.
These organizations are all asking themselves, (in a panic) quick, how can we reach the “young people?” They want to be told stories of engagement driven from impactful Facebook and Instagram campaigns, and stories of how to use twitter to drive PR strategies. They are searching for what many organizations seek; and answer in the form of a shortcut and simple solution.
The real truth is that new benefits and engagement programs need to be created that attract a wider array of membership and supporters. Technology is not the answer alone, without use of proven development tactics and individual engagement that will drive people to rally behind you. Know your story, and know what makes people feel the full power of your impact.
Many leaders in the nonprofit sector have forgotten that. Thus, more and more organizations seek a technological answers to fix their failing, or stagnant development numbers. Instead, of looking at what made them successful in the first place: amazing events, stories of hope, reasons for programatic change, and great PR to drive the public to want to support your unique mission.
So remember, use social media to drive volunteers, outreach, and community engagement, but don’t forget about the past….its a dangerous lesson to forget what made us great in the first place.
“Ask yourself the secret of your success. Listen to your answer and practice it.” – Richard Bach
If you are considering changing jobs and attempting to gain your first nonprofit development role consider doing the following to best prepare yourself for success:
(1) Join a board and participate in a development committee to gain exposure
(2) Volunteer to write a grant and gain valuable hands on experience
(3) Take into classes at the Foundation Center to understand grant-writing and Foundations grant-making processes
(4) Get involved in your community and he raise funds for a political campaign and find ways to gain exposure into securing major gifts and gaining corporate partners
(5) Do not assume that your background (be it in sales, marketing, product marketing, wealth management, HR, Operations or otherwise) easily translates into philanthropic activities; to demonstrate your experience build skill sections that showcase your abilities and experience as it relates to the job you are applying for on the top of your resume
(6) Learn about the sector; get active at nonprofit events; and become a part of the community you wish to join
(7) Create value and provide pro-bono help in your network in the area you wish to work to gain valuable experience that will qualify you for the job you wish to land
(8) Be mission focused and show why the specific organization you are applying for is the exact nonprofit you wish to work for
(9) Stand out. Find a designer to make your resume, write a letter so amazing every hiring manager will marvel, and show that you are part of the sector not outside looking in
(10) Know the nomenclature and the basics; understand the differences between nonprofits and foundation; company and organization; grant making and grant writing; why organization have shifted into using the term philanthropy over fundraising and why Philanthropy is a warmer word that can decrease the fear of fundraising