How Recruiters Can Drive Diversity Efforts at Nonprofits

How Recruiters Can Drive Diversity Efforts at Nonprofits

The past few months have seen an increased focus on diversity and racial equity in the workplace. As Black Lives Matter protests have marched around the globe, many organizations have taken a hard look at what they need to do better and where their gaps lie.

The nonprofit sector is not immune to these challenges. A 2019 survey of North American nonprofits found that 57% are impacted by a lack of diversity, and 43% believe the diversity of their staff is not reflective of the communities they serve. Despite this, less than a third (31%) have a diversity strategy in place to help move the needle. 

Recruiters play an integral role in building nonprofit organizations where employees from all backgrounds are represented and can thrive. It’s not just about making more diverse hiring decisions—it’s about ensuring mutual alignment so that hiring managers are satisfied with their new hire’s performance and underrepresented employees want to stick around for the long haul. 

Inspired by The Adler Group’s Recruiter Competency Model, which you can download here, here are a few steps nonprofit recruiters can take to drive their organizations’ diversity efforts—and set everyone involved up for success. 

1. Know the nitty-gritty details

When an outstanding prospect asks for more information about the role and why it represents a good career move for them, it’s essential for the recruiting team to know how to answer. This is just as important at nonprofits as it is in the corporate world. A vague, generic answer isn’t enough. A detailed description of major performance objectives, how the job ties into the nonprofit’s broader mission, and some detail about the hiring manager’s leadership style are what will convince the candidate to move forward.

The recruiting team also needs to be able to talk in detail about how your organization promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). A vague answer here could signal to candidates from underrepresented groups that your nonprofit doesn’t truly value DEI, or that you haven’t put much thought into it, making them doubt whether this is the right environment for them. 

2. Teach hiring managers to make more accurate decisions

To prevent strong candidates—especially those from underrepresented groups—from being excluded for the wrong reasons, recruiters need to share compelling evidence of those candidates’ outstanding performance to their hiring managers.

This may require recruiters to first work with hiring managers to define what success in the role looks like in terms of performance objectives, rather than merely a list of skills, competencies, academics, and experiences that could introduce bias into the equation. With this context and mindset, hiring managers may be more receptive to candidates who don’t tick off every box they’d typically look for, or who come from “unconventional” backgrounds, so long as the recruiter can demonstrate why they’re a good fit for the role.

3. Focus on opportunity, not compensation 

Most people who are attracted to the nonprofit field are driven by purpose over pay. That makes it especially important to highlight the career opportunity you offer, rather than the compensation package, if you want to attract the strongest and most diverse pool of talent on a consistent basis. 

If candidates are inspired by your mission and vision, they’ll likely want to stay at your organization for a long time, so be sure to highlight how your nonprofit will foster their personal and professional growth. If you see high top-to-bottom funnel yield and acceptance rates from the strongest and most diverse talent, this should lead to positive hiring outcomes where new hires and their hiring managers are satisfied.

Strengthen your diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategy

If you’re looking to improve your hiring process, increase your diversity recruiting efforts, and contribute to the diversification of your organization, our team is here to help. To learn more about how Linkedin for Nonprofits can help you source a diverse pool of highly qualified talent, explore our hiring solutions today.

And for more tips, strategies, and insights, watch our #BetterTogether event “Navigating diversity and inclusion at nonprofit organizations,” available on-demand now.

This post was inspired by the LinkedIn Talent Blog article “How Recruiters Can Drive Diversity Efforts,” authored by Lou Adler.

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