Volunteer management software helps nonprofits find the best people for their mission. Nonprofit organizations cannot achieve success without a stellar team of leaders, staff and volunteers working for them. Like any business, nonprofits may run into trouble deciding who the best person is for the job. However, these organizations face different challenges than other organizations and need to approach hiring decisions in a more nuanced and insightful way.
Experience and education requirements
One unique position many nonprofits find themselves in is determining which applicant backgrounds and educations suit their goals best. Top Nonprofits advocated for the consideration of young graduates with degrees in liberal arts studies for entry-level positions at nonprofits. This opinion is based on the astute observation by Elite Daily that millennials crave meaning in work and life.
Growing up in the age of technology, in a world that simultaneously expands and shrinks on a daily basis, has given the millennial generation a lost sense of meaning. Information overload is very real and young people are eager to understand it all, without going crazy in the process. This has led to an increase in psychology majors across the country. Currently one of the top five most popular areas of study in the U.S., psychology helps students better comprehend their motivations, desires and disappointments.
Unfortunately, degrees in clinical psychology lead to unemployment 19.5 percent of the time, the highest rate for any college major. Nonprofits should be tapping into this market of highly-educated, jobless recent graduates with a significant understanding of how people work and a fascination with finding meaning in their lives.
In addition, NPOs might want to consider taking a look at applicants who have been schooled in one of the other most popular degrees among millennials: computer, media and communication sciences. These degrees are incredibly trendy and can offer flailing nonprofits a boost in areas that are likely more difficult to navigate, especially for organizations looking to increase their donor bases and revamp their marketing strategies.
Aside from experience and education, a solid cultural fit within a nonprofit organization is important. Though this is true for most businesses, nonprofits’ focus on people and how to help others increases the need for a genuine and mutually respectful relationship among staff. To make sure a qualified applicant is also a good cultural fit, The Bridgespan Group asks organizations to consider the following steps:
Define culture and what it lacks
It’s important for all employees, volunteers and management to understand the cultural guidelines within an organization. Whether a nonprofit prefers a more laid-back office setting with an open-door policy or a formal, structured culture will greatly determine the right candidate for a position. Do people work in teams or individually on assignments? What is the work/life balance? These questions are important for everyone to understand and adhere to.
Look for areas in need of improvement, as well. A new hire may need to fill a gap or tighten an unraveling department. In this case, whether a culture is casual and collaborative might matter less than how well the candidate will be able to corral everyone or create a fresh campaign.
Interact and listen to instincts
In addition to the standard questions an interviewer should ask a candidate, find moments for interaction with other employees around the office. Make introductions to future team members, upper management, administrative professionals and anyone else who may one day be working with the interviewee. The way this person treats others and gets along with new people is a great indicator of how they will act in the office. Get feedback from staff to see what the biggest gut reactions were.
Consider what it would be like to spend time with this person in a stressful situation. Ask them how they handle difficulties in everyday life like losing luggage or spilling coffee. Taking them out to lunch, said Timothy Higdon, adjunct assistant professor of philanthropy at NYU, is an excellent way to see how they may treat potential donors in a public or social setting.
Make use of the references given by the candidate. See if previous employers have additional information to offer beyond what the applicant can accomplish in his or her work. Find out how they are with other people.
Volunteer management software can help a nonprofit find, keep and grow an excellent network of people devoted to its cause.