Nonprofit Job Blog: A review of how nonprofit board member make-up and backgrounds are shifting hiring in the nonprofit sector.

Nonprofit Job Blog: A review of how nonprofit board member make-up and backgrounds are shifting hiring in the nonprofit sector.

Here at Foundation List it is our goal to make finding nonprofit jobs at foundation easier for our passionate nonprofit job seekers.  This nonprofit job blog explores how nonprofit board member make-up and backgrounds are shifting hiring in the nonprofit sector. As experts in nonprofit hiring and job seeking, there are some new changes that have been shaping the nonprofit and foundation sector more than ever before we would like to share.

We recently spent time with one of the leading experts in nonprofit executive search, and Managing Partner at Scion Executive Search who reaffirmed an ongoing trend in the nonprofit sector experts in hiring that human resource staff and organizational development consultants have understood for quite some time now. This is the trend: nonprofit boards and foundation boards (of all sizes and budgets) are more and more on average consisting of board members from the for-profit sector and are larger in size by number every year.

This is a big shift from decades of past history where smaller board member size dominated and Board Chair roles were more limited to nonprofit experienced members. More recently significant increases in high level corporate executives (as a trend) whom are becoming more involved in the nonprofit sector at the board level (and Board chair level) is simply changing how open the sector as whole is recruiting new talent and viewing corporate experience in nonprofit staff applicants and roles.

Consider most current not-for-profit openings at the CEO Search level both at Foundations and nonprofit organizations.  It used to be in the 90’s and up until about 2008, that nonprofit boards only wanted to consider proven past Executive Director/CEO candidates with a minimum of ten years of experience leading a nonprofit as the lead executive. This has changed, and it is a direct impact of the make-up of the average Board now being more corporate in experience and culture than in years past.  Boards are open to, and many times have preferences for candidate like themselves.  Thus, hybrid talent, candidates that have nonprofit Board experience, and for-profit corporate proven startup and growth experience in the past are highly sought after.

What does this mean? There is new opportunity for nontraditional corporate candidates that are seeking work and entry into the nonprofit job sector from the current shift in hiring trends. The effects of this hiring trend are direct, once a corporate CEO is hired to run a nonprofit or foundation, they normally are also prone to hiring corporate talent for their officers.  So, if you are a corporate candidate, interested in making the move to the nonprofit or foundation sector, board leadership experience is still very important for you to hold, but given the sectors new openness to cutting edge technology approaches and corporate connections now is the time to apply and make a change if your background is of this type.

Here is a tip that was shared with us recently on the topic of crossover corporate candidates (crossover means you are trying to make the jump to work at a nonprofit): before you decide where to apply, first target nonprofits and foundations with a corporate culture and or leader. It’s that simple to significantly raise your chances of consideration. Applying at organizations and foundations with corporate officers leading the charge more likely leads to face-to-face interviews for current corporate candidates.

This also affects nonprofit candidates in the sector already as well. For experienced nonprofit candidates in an interview, it is of the utmost importance to verbally value corporate practices, and also describe different approaches, learned methodology, and trends in the corporate sector when interviewing.  As employers more so are seeking hybrid talent between nonprofit and for-profit ideology it is very important candidates do not appear to be too niche, and or too deep into one area.  It is most important to show your background and experience is up on trends (nonprofit, corporate and startup), understands technology, and can directly describe how their work will contribute to the organizational mission, impact growth, and show value no matter the level of role or position you apply for.

The playing field for foundation and nonprofit jobs is simply changing, and as the not-profit sector does not have many institution studying it holistically (as a whole or individually) only consultants and executives deep into the sector understand these nuances, strengths, weaknesses and trends. Surprisingly, when we brought this same topic up with local nonprofit staff at a recent YNPN event, many nonprofit executives had not yet thought about Board formation impacts or such hiring trends as a whole on the sector.

Foundation List is a socially conscious nonprofit job board for foundations and nonprofit job seekers helping to educate the public, providing  a free  public forum to post, connect,  and discuss Foundation related topics and news, and is a national job board listing foundation job openings and board member vacancies. 

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