One of the most common buzzwords of the last decade or so is sustainability. It’s been applied to everything from construction methodologies to laundry detergents, so perhaps it’s not surprising to hear it used in the context of the sustainability of nonprofit organizations. What does it take to be a sustainable nonprofit organization? The answers may surprise you.
Think beyond cash flow
Naturally, what first comes to mind is cash flow. A sustainable nonprofit has to continue bringing in the money required to fulfill their mission, year after year. But sustainability goes beyond that. The analysts at Nonprofit HR laid out what we think is a spot-on description of nonprofit sustainability: “Nonprofit sustainability occurs when a nonprofit attracts and effectively uses enough and the right kinds of money and people necessary to lead and achieve their long-term outcome goals.”
Implement a recruiting strategy
The right kinds of people are a necessary ingredient in the sustainability of nonprofits, yet a full 64% of nonprofits have no formal recruitment strategy. Without such a strategy makes competing for top talent even more difficult today than ever before. Even more alarming, once the right people are in place, most organizations (81%) lack a formal retention strategy for keeping them onboard and engaged.
While recruiting strategies will vary from organization to organization, many include elements such as workforce planning, definition of goals, employer branding, social media presence, sourcing and recruiting, a recruiting and applicant tracking technology platform, effective onboarding, and the use of data analytics to measure and monitor the process.
Make a solid first impression
60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience. And as a result of a poor candidate experience, employers are missing out on an important talent pool. 83% of job seekers say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked, while 87% say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted. Clearly, it pays to make a good first impression.
Organizations can improve the experience of candidates in several ways, including streamlining the application process, keeping applicants informed of the status of their application, and recommending additional available positions. Steps like these are easier when you use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), yet in 2017 only 33% of nonprofits reported that they use an ATS.
Promote your brand
Nonprofits have to be masters at self-promotion to meet their fundraising goals, and an organization’s brand carries a similar significance throughout the recruiting process. Does your organization have an employment brand or employment branding process? A majority of nonprofits do not, despite the important role brand plays in attracting top talent.
Think of your employment brand as the market perception of what it's like to work for your organization. It’s the image that your prospective, current, and past employees have about the employment experience, and includes things like your culture, work environment, employee benefits, and advancement opportunities. Your organization’s brand affects recruitment of new employees, retention, and engagement of current employees, and the overall perception of the organization in the market. Essentially your brand should create a sense of urgency and excitement motivating prospect employees to seek you out and current employees to remain engaged.
Building a sustainable nonprofit organization involves many factors, of which the right talent is perhaps the most critical. To achieve your mission, and successfully grow and maintain it, you must recruit and retain the right high-performing people.
Learn more about how an Applicant Tracking system can improve the sustainability of your recruiting efforts with our guide - 4 Key Steps to Successful Talent Acquisition..