Recruiting for Not-for-Profit Organizations

The recruitment process is vital for any organization. Recruiting a strong and diverse team is key to an organization’s success as the employees are the team of people who will run, support, and represent the organization. NPOs may form their team from a mix of volunteers and employees who fill different roles and positions. So, what are the basics for not-for-profit organizations when recruiting?

Attracting New Volunteers & Employees

Job Posting

It is important that when recruiting, the organization posts a strong and captivating job description so potential candidates know a) the job they are applying for, and b) are interested and motivated to work for the organization. The posting should explain the title, job description, core values of the organization, team size and make-up, expected commitment levels, team culture/characteristics, job type (i.e., part-time, full-time, casual, or volunteer), and any other key information the organization wants to advertise about the job or the organization itself.

“Open Door” Positions

Organizations may also choose to have positions that are always open or open on a reoccurring basis. This encourages candidates to apply, regardless of the time, and keeps an “open door” atmosphere. This can be good when companies want as many people as possible and are open to having new people join their team on a frequent basis.


  • Access to a bigger candidate pool
  • Increased diversity within the organization
  • Faster recruitment process


  • More frequent training sessions may be needed to onboard newly hired employees/volunteers
  • A need for a well-developed training program
  • Ensuring that a manager/supervisor is available to provide support


Once the job or volunteer posting is finished, it is important to share this posting with the public. Organizations can use social media platforms, networking platforms such as LinkedIn, or job and career sites such as Indeed or Glassdoor. When sharing these opportunities on social media platforms, like Instagram or Facebook, using job-related hashtags (for example, #volunteering or #fulltimejob”), could increase the organization’s social media following while attracting candidates to apply. Another great way to attract or reach potential candidates would be for any current employees to share the posting with their network, so the organization can reach potential like-minded and driven candidates.

Retaining Volunteers & Employees

Once an organization has attracted and onboarded new volunteers and employees, organizations must continue to uphold their values and expectations while fostering a positive and inclusive environment to retain their volunteers and employees. Creating a positive work atmosphere is a great way to build morale for existing volunteers and employees to provide consistently high-quality service to their respective causes. This positive atmosphere and work environment will also be a great asset in attracting new volunteers or employees.

Retention Strategy

Creating a formal retention strategy may help organizations understand why volunteers and/or employees are leaving, and thereby minimize turnover. This can be done through exit interviews to identify market trends and act accordingly to reduce turnover. Additionally, employee retention expenditures should be linked to organizational goals and results.

Training and Development Programs

Transforming the organization’s culture to foster learning may attract and retain volunteers and/or employees’ retention. An example is to set up a “buddies” system as a peer-to-peer mentorship program within the organization. Mentorship boosts opportunities for learning and growth while exposing individuals to new and different perspectives. In turn, this may result in strong connections and trust across the organization and develop skills.

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