Nonprofits To Add Staff, Don’t Budget For Recruitment

March 26, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

More nonprofits plan to hire new staff in 2014 than use current staff, according to a new survey released today.

Washington, D.C.-based Nonprofit HR, a human resources firm that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations, released the 2014 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, which includes responses from more than 400 nonprofits nationwide.

Hiring new staff has become more popular than using current staff to support new programs, according to the seventh annual survey. In 2010, the report indicated that 58 percent of nonprofits were using current staff, as opposed to 29 percent that were hiring new staff. Those two percentages have been gradually coming closer until this year when 45 percent said they hire new staff compared to 43 percent that said they would use current staff.

In 2009, many more nonprofits were predicting hiring freezes, eliminating positions or gradually reducing staff. By 2014, the survey indicated that many fewer organizations were reducing staff or enacting hiring freezes, with an increase in the percentage of nonprofits that plan to create new positions in 2014.

Some 46 percent of respondents said that staff size increased last year, compared with 17 percent that said it decreased. Compare that with 2009 results when 18 percent said staff increased in 2009 and 22 percent that said staff decreased.

Survey results indicated job growth across all subsectors, led by international/foreign affairs, where three-quarters of the respondents said they plan to create jobs versus 38 percent that said they plan to eliminate/reduce jobs. Among other subsectors:

  • Health, 60 percent plan to create versus 7 percent;
  • Public/societal benefit, 53 percent, 6 percent;
  • Arts, culture, humanities, 50 percent, 5 percent;
  • Religion related, faith-based, 47 percent, 7 percent;
  • Human services, 41 percent, 7 percent;
  • Education, 40 percent, 10 percent;
  • Environment, animal welfare, 35 percent, 6 percent;
  • Membership society/association, 26 percent, 7 percent.

Some 20 percent of nonprofits indicated that turnover has been the biggest employment challenge at their organization, with turnover rates of 16 percent in 2013 and 17 percent in 2012. The biggest challenges are hiring qualified staff with limited budget constraints, finding qualified staff and finding time to recruit and interview candidates, according to the survey.

The biggest challenges when it comes to retention are an inability to pay competitive (32 percent); inability to promote/advance top performing staff (18 percent), and excessive workloads (16 percent).

The most difficult positions to retain last year are anticipated to see the most growth in 2014, including direct service positions, program and support staff, and fundraising/development. Entry and mid-level professionals are the hardest to retain, according to the survey, while people coming from other nonprofits fill half of mid-level positions.

Nonprofits continue not to budget for hiring and recruitment, with only 15 percent of organizations reporting having a formal annual budget. For those that have budgets, the median was $8,500.

The use of social media continues to grow as a part of recruitment although nine out of 10 organizations operate without a strategy. LinkedIn is the most popular social media network for recruitment with 60 percent of respondents saying they use it for recruitment advertising, more than Facebook (42 percent) and Twitter (21 percent).

Diversity is top-of-mind for many nonprofits, especially in light of recent national and global discussions regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights. Despite the importance and benefits of diversity to most nonprofits, less than half (36 percent) of survey respondents reported a formal workforce diversity strategy, and 14 percent cited diversity as being the biggest employment challenge at their organizations.

“There is a stereotypical view of the organization that it is ‘an old (white) boys’ network that is completely out of date but hard to overcome. Our CEO is a woman!,” said one survey participant responded. “The organization is very open to candidates representing diverse age, ethnic and sexual orientation categories, and we ensure that positions are not segregated by gender stereotyping. However, until we increase the participation of members who represent diverse categories, I think we will continue to have difficulty attracting staff who reflect them.”

For more information and full survey results, please visit http://www.nonprofithr.com/advocacy/nonprofit-employment-practices-survey/.