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How to Communicate Your Nonprofit’s Culture to Candidates

It’s time to post about a new job opening at your nonprofit, and you’ve already assembled information about the role, created an accurate job description, and made a draft of the post to publish on LinkedIn. You’re ready to start your search, right?

Not so fast. If you only provide information about the position itself, potential candidates may be left scratching their heads over an important piece of the puzzle: organizational culture.    

To make an informed decision about where to apply, job seekers need to know what it’s like to work at your organization—especially in a mission-driven sector like the nonprofit world. To help you clearly communicate what your culture is all about, here are a few tips for determining what makes your organization tick and sharing those insights with job seekers. 

What is organizational culture and why does it matter? 

The term “organizational culture” can feel abstract, but it largely boils down to the beliefs and values that guide employees’ behavior. These unspoken rules should trickle down from your nonprofit’s leadership and be reinforced by managers. Rewarding behavior that aligns with your culture helps employees to embody it, ensuring it’s more than just words on paper—it’s a living, breathing part of your nonprofit. For instance, if your organization values ingenuity and creativity, managers can help this behavior to stick by encouraging and recognizing out-of-the-box thinking, rather than driving hard-and-fast rules and ways of doing things.

When candidates resonate with your organization’s culture, they’re more likely to succeed—and stick around for the long term. That said, culture is not set in stone and can always be improved upon, which is why many organizations look for a “culture add” when hiring: someone who can bring a new perspective, experience, and ideas to help your culture evolve. By sharing information about your culture with candidates, you can find people who’ll thrive at your organization—and, in some cases, make it even better.

How to determine your nonprofit’s culture

Before you can share your organizational culture with candidates, you need to pinpoint the values, beliefs, and behaviors that define it. This is not something you can do on your own. Since culture is something that every individual member of an organization contributes to, it’s worth tapping many different perspectives when trying to define it—from the leaders at the top to the people on the ground.

Consider running focus groups (via video conference if in-person is not an option) where employees can reflect on their experiences at your organization. What qualities do they believe the most successful employees demonstrate? If they could change one thing about the organization, what would it be? You’ll gain insights not only from their answers, but also how they interact with one another.

Another option is to send an anonymous culture survey to employees. Rather than limiting them to multiple-choice questions, provide a text box where they can share more detailed thoughts. These surveys are quick to send out and there are plenty of pre-built options you can use online.

How to share your culture with job seekers

Once you have a solid understanding of your culture, it’s time to spread the word to job seekers. Including some details in your job descriptions is a good start, but since you don’t want to overwhelm candidates with too much information right off the bat, make it easy for them to do their own research by building a LinkedIn Career Page. That way, when employees click through to your organization’s LinkedIn Page to learn more about you, they can quickly get a sense of your culture by viewing the “Life” tab.

An image of a nonprofit's LinkedIn Career Page, showcasing their culture to candidates.

The best LinkedIn Career Pages include a mix of text, photos, and videos, helping to bring the organization’s culture to life. You can also add links to outside sources, like your nonprofit’s blog, and include testimonials from real employees about what it’s like to work at your organization.

After candidates apply for a job, focus on helping them feel your culture throughout the hiring process. This might include dedicating time in the interview to talk about it or attaching resources in your emails to help them learn more. If you’ve communicated your culture well, new hires should quickly feel at home once they join your organization, because they knew exactly what to expect.

Keep your culture at the forefront

A stand-out employer brand makes it easier for nonprofits to attract the talent they need. By giving candidates a strong sense of your culture, as well as your mission and goals, you can find people who are ready to make a difference—and enjoy a long and fulfilling career at your organization.

To learn more about how LinkedIn can help your organization attract, hire, and develop exceptional nonprofit talent, contact our team today.