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3 Tips for Building a Thriving Nonprofit Workforce

When your team succeeds, your nonprofit does, too. That’s why one of the most important elements that goes into building a thriving nonprofit is providing employees with the support they need to do their best work.

For our recent guide, Creating workplaces where employees and their nonprofits thrive, we spoke to three organizations — ACT, PRIDE Industries, and VNS Health — about what they’re doing to create positive and productive work environments where employees can flourish. Here are three of the tips they shared: 

1. Hire for potential, not previous role

When it’s time to bring new a team member into your organization, it’s often valuable to look beyond a candidate’s current job title and consider what skills they might bring to your nonprofit.

Using LinkedIn Recruiter, the hiring team at PRIDE Industries proactively identifies candidates who may not have applied for the role on their own, but who have a lot of potential. They can then connect with promising candidates directly and encourage them to apply. 

“You may post a job that people think they need a lot of experience to apply,” says Charles Smith, National Recruitment Manager, Talent Acquisition, at PRIDE Industries. “But really, by doing a little more digging, you can hire someone who is ready to move into that role as opposed to just choosing to hire from the candidates who applied. It is important to hire a person who is a great culture fit, who will contribute to the effectiveness and wellbeing of the organization.”

2. Ask what resources employees want and need to be successful 

Learning and development initiatives can be a great way to not only fill skills gaps at your nonprofit, but also improve employee engagement and retention. Before you invest in a new initiative, however, it may be helpful to gather the employee perspective. What resources do they feel they need to be successful? 

VNS Health conducted roundtable discussions with staff to better understand what resources they wanted and needed. Based on feedback from employees, the organization adopted LinkedIn Learning.

“It’s really hard to deliver learning that fits everyone or even fits most,” says Kristin Guernier, Talent & Learning Specialist at VNS Health. “We wanted to have something available that supported all our employees in a way that offered flexibility; and on relevant content topics that align to our strategy.”

3. Empower leaders to strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion skills across their teams

Fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging at your nonprofit helps to ensure that every employee can thrive. One way that ACT has worked to nurture an inclusive culture is by hosting an organization-wide “Allyship Challenge.” 

As part of this challenge, employees were encouraged to take a LinkedIn Learning Path on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Equipped with this resource, some leaders then encouraged their teams to participate in the challenge together and discuss their takeaways.

“We’re seeing more leaders accessing content on leading inclusively, and that’s had a really positive impact on our culture,” says Kimberly Raso, Senior Program Manager of Learning & Talent Development at ACT. “We’re a group of team members who want to work together and help others find belonging.”

For more tips on building a thriving nonprofit workforce, download the guide today.