How To Write Nonprofit Job Postings That Truly Work
Selecting where to post and effectively writing truly engaging nonprofit job postings is the most important key element to focus on when creating effective nonprofit job postings and recruiting nonprofit staff.
The five most important aspects to review when creating a new nonprofit job posting are: (1) correct content gathering, (2) opportunity introduction, (3) salary and title/level review, (4) effective requirements, and (5) use of a clear and engaging closing.
We will discuss each in further detail. If you employ these approaches your organization will be much more likely to hire talented professionals that are a full match for your nonprofit.
(1) Correct content gathering: content and the main aspects of your nonprofit job posting should be more than a list of what they job will do on a daily basis. Effective nonprofit job posts detail the work required to achieve and overcome the strategic challenges for the job function. To aid you in the correct collection of responsibilities first ask and review the largest organizational challenges the position will be exposed to, and the main projects the role will lead in the first year of its work. Concentration on content that effectively describes the true strategic goals and work is the most important information to full understand prior to writing the nonprofit job posting.
(2) Opportunity introduction: the secret to writing terrific job posting is all about the opening! Start with excitement! Starts with the why. Start with the challenge the position will have the pleasure of working on. Keep it upbeat, describe the role in broad strokes and represent the exciting positives about your organization. Try to keep the intro to two paragraphs that make the opening sounds fun, challenging, and truly rewarding. It’s ok to actually say that the position is rare, that it is truly rewarding, is wonderfully challenging, and works with a devoted amazing team of professionals. Get creative and grab your readers’ attention! Once you see a nonprofit job posting as an opportunity announcement and not a stale job description you are on the road to success!
(3) Salary and title/level review: ask yourself first if the responsibilities of the role effectively represent the title. Then review the salary in your region to make sure it is a match for the title you have chosen. If these are not congruent your position will stay open and not fill. This area is the most common mistake of all job postings. Inflated job titles that do have salaries that are equivalent or responsibilities that are way beyond the job title. If you have either of these issues you need to go back and rewrite and re-strategize. If you’re not sure just google the title, location, and the word salary to see the average in the area. Your salary should be at least the 55% median level.
(4) Effective requirements: be careful not to require aspects that are not actually fully require. Likewise be careful of listing things as ‘a plus,’ as it scares off candidates that do not hold the background. Instead, think about what the target for what you want to hire is and list at that level. If you will not likely hire anyone with two years of experience unless they can walk on water, why is the requirement two years? Instead, list what you would like to hire. List what the true minimum is! But, don’t require specific programs or list them as ‘a plus’ unless it’s a hardline requirement. The purpose of the nonprofit job posting is to attract the most candidates so HR or a recruiter can then judge who is the best possible candidate. Be a fisher-person not a cynic. Attracting talent with upbeat content and clear goals work a whole lot better.
(5) Use of a clear and engaging closing: just like in sales nonprofit job postings are all about the close! Make it sound easy to apply, make it sound like now is the time! Never ask candidates to go to another website that is complex to apply; you will lose 65% of your best talent! Instead have an immediate email for them to send to or a link to where they can immediately apply and upload their resume. A great close includes all the positives. Detail all of your benefits, perks, vacation, office culture, and how much people love working for you. Be the picture of positivity, opportunity, challenge, and career opportunity growth and you will find the purple squirrel you have been searching for. If you have done all of the steps and you are still struggling, it’s time to take the exciting job announcement and network it out to groups and prospective targets that meet the experience you are seeking. Every job is fillable, with the right approach and strategy.
For a comprehensive list of the best places to post nonprofit job postings please click here.
The Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts While Creating Nonprofit Job Postings
- Do not create a job posting that is too short. If you’re nonprofit job posting is only a couple of paragraphs it will not look professional. Short announcements send a message to the job seeker that the job is also not very good. Shoot for between 600 words for lower level position and closer to 1000 words for higher level nonprofit job openings.
- Do not list inaccurate information. Make sure the description you are using is recent, accurate and does not mislead. If it does, it will more likely make the job seeker more frustrated in the position later, if the job is not exactly as it was advertised.
- Don’t be negative! Job seekers are shopping for jobs and it is a competitive market out there. Talk about all the awesome challenges the person will be able to help with, the amazing projects they will get to lead and focus on the impact the position will create! That is what the best nonprofit job seekers are looking for.
- Don’t forget to include a description of your organization! This is an easy one. You likely already have a nice description of your mission and about the work your organization is leading. Make sure to include an “About Us” or “Our Organization” section to show off the amazing work and mission your prospective employee would be part of!
- Make sure to list whom the position reports to and other basic information such as the location of the job, remote work, the schedule and if it is full or part time. This is information normally at the beginning of the job posting. You want to make sure the posting is describing the work opportunity correctly so you can gain applicants that are a full match for the role.
- Make sure to list an easy way to apply. If you have a direct link – list it. If you have a direct email make sure to include it. In fact list them both. The easier it is for job seekers to apply the more qualified applicants you will receive.
- Don’t forget to list out every one of your amazing benefits from vacation/PTO, sick time, disability, heath coverage, volunteer days, training, 403b/401k, any deferred compensation, expense reimbursements, events they can attend, organizational parties, and literally anything that is a positive in the role! Nonprofit job seekers need to see more than just a base salary and will be judging all the aspects of the opportunity not just the money. It is in your best interest to list as many benefits and positive aspects as possible in your compensation section.
- Order the sections within your responsibility and qualifications from most to least important in the role. Make sure to think about the job and list the aspects of the role the person will be doing the most first. Make sure the most important qualifications are front and center, and also list your most important things the job will do first! The order the items in your nonprofit job posting communicates to the reader the level of importance you place on the work! So think about the order of the content!
- Be mission forward. To many job posting for nonprofits are missing the heart and connection to the overall mission of the work. Make being passionate about the mission the number one requirement for the role, in addition to the main type of experience you are seeking to hire. Look for candidates who a full mission match and the will be more likely to work for you long term and also give you 100% of their passion to help your cause and run your nonprofit programs.
- Show the growth. While it is very important to hire a staff member that will want to work in your vacant job opening long-term make sure to also describe how the position will grow and evolve over time. Even solely administrative positions can and will change and take on more over time. Show where the position has opportunity to impact your work, and take on more. All job seekers are looking for an engaging job that is fulfilling and an opportunity to help, impact, feel good and work with an amazing team. Make sure to call out all the positives to attract the best nonprofit talent possible!