Employer Branding for Nonprofits
Nonprofit organizations that want to recruit top employees must compete against top-notch, for-profit employers that have reputations for being some of the best places to work. But with a carefully designed employer branding strategy, your nonprofit can also become an employer of choice — even if you don’t offer the same employment packages as your for-profit competition.
Here are five tips for utilizing an employer branding strategy to boost your nonprofit recruitment and retention efforts.
1. Understand your employer value proposition. Employer branding is all about what people feel and think about working for your organization, and many nonprofit organizations have long understood that they offer a unique workplace value to their employees. As a nonprofit, your organization is likely to have a higher purpose than simply making money — and if you communicate the impact potential candidates can have on the world by working with you, it is likely to resonate with those who will be best fits for your organization.
2. Embrace social media. If you don’t already, learn to use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and so forth to communicate your organization’s mission, culture, and benefits. “Whether you believe in [social media] or not, you have to be there, and you have to be consistently there,” said Jim Zaniello, president of Vetted Solutions, at a recent Bisnow-sponsored panel on Association and Non-Profit Human Capital Strategies. “Candidates have a choice as to where they go to work. They are looking at all types of social media.”
National Public Radio (NPR) has rebuilt its recruiting strategy with a focus on social media and in the process, has saved more than $100,000 per year in job ads and recruitment marketing, according to Lars Schmidt, senior director of talent acquisition and innovation.
3. Keep current employees happy. Not only are your current employees valuable to your organization, but they can also serve as ambassadors for your employment brand, sharing their positive experience with others who may be potential candidates for future positions. Keep these employees happy by creating generous benefits packages — your organization may not compete monetarily with for-profit companies, but you may be able to offer better work-life balance and unique opportunities for professional development, such as leadership training programs.
4. Conduct “stay” interviews. Forget the exit interview; conduct a similar interview with current staff members who (you hope) have no intention of leaving. In this formal discussion, ask current staffers what you can do to ensure that they will stay with your organization. Ask questions about organizational culture, communication, growth and recognition to gauge employees’ engagement and help you formulate policies and procedures that will best fit the needs of your employees.
5. Realize that one size doesn’t fit all. Just because a particular employer branding strategy works for another organization doesn’t mean that it will work for yours. “Employment branding doesn’t have to be built around a broad multi-channel social media approach,” NPR’s Schmidt says. Instead, it can be scaled to the size and needs of your particular organization. Rather than seeking to apply a cookie-cutter approach to your organization’s employer brand, determine the right approach for your needs. And be willing to experiment, changing things that aren’t working. The most important thing is that you choose a strategy that is streamlined with the culture of your organization.