Hiring for Nonprofits: How to Tackle the Rising Turnover Rates

turnover ratesThe nonprofit sector continues to experience growth in all aspects of employment, wages and market share of the total private sector as reported by the BLS. From 2007 to 2012, nonprofit employment increased 8.5%, annual wages increased by 26% and the number of nonprofit establishments increased by 15%.

The 2016 US Job Forecast from CareerBuilder found that 57% of nonprofits anticipate creating new positions this year (2016) and the majority have no plans to eliminate positions (77%), gradually reduce staff (91%) or freeze hiring (87%). All in all, the nonprofit sector is HOT!

With over 1.4 million nonprofit organizations contributing $905.9 billion to the U.S. economy and giving back $358.38 billion to our communities, the need to sustain the stimulation of this industry is evermore present.

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The problem? According to the 2016 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, the nonprofit industry turnover rate has steadily increased since 2012. Couple that with the fact that over the last 5 years, 1 in 3 nonprofits have reported budget restraints as their biggest staffing challenge, and we see a major conflict arise in increasing investment in recruitment and retention strategies. In the meantime, here’s what nonprofits can do.

1. Passionate Employees Can Burn Out Physically and Emotionally

The high employee turnover rate has often been attributed to the fact that nonprofit employees tend to be passionate and dedicated to their chosen cause and overwork themselves and eventually burn out. Overall, 60% of nonprofit employees stated they accepted their position to help the public, not for job security. Therefore, your employees who truly want to be there day in and day out, giving it their all, do run the risk of getting completely burned out.

To Do: Promote a healthy work/life balance throughout your entire organization. Nonprofit work can be physically and especially emotionally draining. Even your most diligent employees can tax themselves out. Look into providing flex work schedules and remote working opportunities or even job-sharing. One of the best things you can do to battle burnout for your employees and lower stress levels is through implementing an employee wellness program. Wellness programs aren’t just for large corporations either! See how employee wellness programs can be customized to any company size.

2. Creative Compensation is Needed

Employees find the largest increases in base salary by moving to another organization, and nonprofit organizations with budget restraints are left struggling to compete. However, a little creativity can go a long way. Non-cash rewards, bonuses and the healthy work/life balance opportunities we mentioned above are great ways to compensate employees and reap the benefits of a healthier, more satisfied team.

To Do: Aside from the above, work with funders to provide competitive compensation through base salaries or bonuses to retain high performers. Find key benefits, unique work-flex arrangements and enforce necessary vacations to keep employees happy, even if you can’t pay them the big bucks.

Tweet This: How to creatively compensate your employees at a non-profit:


3. It’s Okay to Ask for Help

In the big scheme of things, nonprofits should have the leisure to focus solely on their cause work and leave the talent acquisition challenges to a trusted staffing partner. If you think outsourcing recruitment is out of reach with an already limited budget, just think about all of the money going down the drain in those rising turnover costs. The right outsourced recruitment partner, who must be knowledgeable in your industry, can nearly alleviate hiring headaches for nonprofits.

To Do: Talk with a staffing agency to see how affordable outsourcing recruitment can actually be for your organization. The right staffing and recruitment partner can find people uniquely suited to working within the non-profit sector.

Vector Talent Resources provides customized staffing solutions to nonprofits and associations nationally. Whether you’re looking to outsource certain aspects of your recruitment process or want someone to completely take over your entire talent acquisition department so you can focus on saving the world, Vector Talent has the bandwidth you need. Talk with a nonprofit staffing expert today!


Coming Up on the Talent Talk blog:

 Hiring for Nonprofits: Create a Formal Recruitment Process… or Else!

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