Going through the hiring process presents a challenge for many nonprofit organizations, according to a new survey by Nonprofit HR Solutions.


Nonprofits lag considerably behind the for-profit world in the human resources area, and many don’t have formal recruitment and retention strategies. Most nonprofits don’t budget for recruitment, and those that do have a median budget of just $8,500, the study found.

Only 15 percent of 400 nonprofits surveyed in the study have a formal recruitment strategy, and only 17 percent have a formal strategy for retention.

“There is a general sentiment in the sector that we can get away with giving HR to anybody who’s willing to do it,” says Nonprofit HR Solutions CEO Lisa Brown Morton. “(That’s) opposed to thinking thoughtfully and strategically and intentionally around hiring people who are qualified and experienced and who can help drive a mission forwards. Human resources is still an emerging function in the sector – it’s not fully matured.”

When recruiting new staff, nonprofits tend to turn toward friends and contacts within the nonprofit realm, and nearly half of their hires are from another nonprofit.

Most respondents were satisfied with new employees they found through:

As to social media, the study found that most nonprofits are using it to some extent, but without a strategy. LinkedIn is used by considerably more nonprofits than other social media (60 percent), followed by Facebook (42 percent) and Twitter (21 percent).

Email is overwhelmingly the choice by nonprofit groups for application submissions (83 percent), and 30 percent have an online tracking system. Nearly half also accept applications by mail or fax.

Just 10 percent accept a LinkedIn profile, and only 2 percent a graphic or video resume.