An organization is only as good as the people that operate it. That means anyone running a nonprofit needs to make sure that they hire the right people.
This is where it gets tricky. The word “right” is subjective, to begin with. Do you want a volunteer that may not necessarily have the skill set needed to get the job done or are you willing to fork over the money for an experienced worker? These are the key things nonprofits should consider during the staffing process, in order to find the best possible team to support their mission.
1. Establish what you are looking for in an employee.
Do you want someone that can get the job done effectively or do you want someone that you would have fun working with? Would you hire a passionate, motivated worker over a skilled candidate? Are you considering traits that you can teach versus what you cannot teach?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a great rule of thumb to use when wading through your candidates. “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person.” Microsoft founder Bill Gates also had a great way of selecting candidates to take on big projects. I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
Also, it’s okay to vary what kind of employee you are looking for in order to fill different jobs. A customer-facing position will naturally have very different requirements than a behind-the-scenes position.
2. Determine the terms of employment.
Do you want to have the employment length for a year or two? Six months? Will your employees be paid or are you strictly looking for volunteers? If you are not comfortable with a time commitment, then at-will employment is best for both the nonprofit and the employee. At-will basically means both sides can terminate the employee-employer agreement at any time for any reason.
You also may want to consider internships. It’s free labor for your nonprofit (which helps since most nonprofits operate on a shoestring budget) and you can have a revolving door of volunteers. If you are located near a university and can give college credit, you have a great pool of potential volunteers (who could become employees in the future).
3. Know the knowledge and skills needed for the job.
Does the job require good people and communication skills? Then you may not want to hire someone who seems introverted. However, if high technological skills are needed, try going with someone fresh out of college who is up-to-date on the current technology. Establish what knowledge and skills are needed for the job and use that as your guiding factor to fill the position.
4. Know where to find candidates
There are great sites such as Idealist, NonProfit Career Match, Conservation Job Board, and Foundation List. However, don’t skip on Craigslist. It’s a great resource and they have a section that is specifically dedicated to nonprofits.
5. Don’t ignore insurance.
It is not uncommon for nonprofit organizations to leave insurance out of their small budgets. However, recruiting for a nonprofit is like recruiting for any other operation, and it has the potential to lead to many costly claims for your operation if you are not taking the right measures. Protect your organization with a commercial insurance program designed for nonprofits, that will meet your budgetary and your liability needs.
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At David G. Sayles Insurance Services, we strive to protect the investments of business owners like you. Our comprehensive policies are customized for you to provide the exact coverage you need. For more information, contact us today at (800) 439-0292.