How to Create a High-Performing Non-Profit Team

Successful nonprofits, NGOs and Social Enterprises have high performing teams. Ready to expand your team? Check out these tips by Emma Miller.

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Employees are the lifeblood of any business, and non-profits are no exception. They are your main brand ambassadors, they should personify your values and your purpose, and they need to feel the same dedication to that purpose as you do. The process of hiring them, however, differs vastly from the traditional talent hunt, as non-profit organizations have different hurdles and struggles they need to overcome.

On a more positive note for non-profits, more people in the modern era are looking for jobs based on this very purpose, and they are driven by a desire to help and give rather than financial incentives alone. Before you set up your next search for a new team member, let’s go over a few essential tips to keep in mind that will help you recognize and attract the most appropriate candidates to join your organization and make a difference through your collaboration.

Job descriptions as mission statements

Remember that the hiring journey is as much of a hunt for them as it is for you. Your goal shouldn’t be only to focus on how much they will impress you, but how impressive you and your organization will be for this particular individual. In order for the right chemistry to surface, it’s up to you to present your mission, vision, purpose, and passion as clearly as possible.

Consider what would make this available position attractive for them. Will they have the chance to grow, learn new skills, network, and advance? Who will they impact directly with their work? Will they have guidance and mentors available on their journey? Provide them with current employee feedback and impressions, and they’ll get a more intimate glimpse at what your organization stands for.

Look beyond the traditional hiring realms

Any organization has the opportunity to thrive with qualified individuals to push it forward, but even more so if you consider diversifying your employee ranks. Simply put, the modern climate allows, if not insists on, hiring people with a wide range of capabilities as well as passions to contribute to your non-profit growth.

As a growing non-profit, you can work with agencies that provide disability employment services and connect the right people with the right employers, while they also provide training and support to make sure their candidates fit your culture. This is by far the best way to ensure diversity in your ranks and make sure that people of passion work under your wing.

Aim for a personality fit

In a pool of interested and probably qualified candidates, it can be a challenge to determine who will make the cut based on their soft skills and personality traits. However, this is more important for your organization than any other, since you need your employees to genuinely care for your mutual goals and share your passion for your purpose.

This is where an interview will come in handy, where you can ask questions meant to assess their character. Talk to them about what has inspired them to apply in the first place, what they wish to accomplish, and if they have already had some experience in other non-profit realms. It’s vital to see how driven they are to work with you, since this will likely not be a typical nine-to-five job, but a far more emotionally-driven experience that requires resilience and devotion.

Applicable knowledge and skills

Most traditional jobs still put great focus on their candidates’ education levels and professional experience. While these may always be useful even for an NPO, you should focus more on their applicable know-how, first-hand experience and skills they may have gained by working directly with another NPO. Those who have had a personal experience in the issues you are dealing with also make for valid candidates, so these can be even more relevant than academic degrees.

On a slightly different note, their CVs may reflect their past results and abilities, but you should be able to determine if they’ve achieved those goals on their own or if they recognize a mentor’s guidance, and if they have the ability to transfer those skills into a new environment. This will show you if their potential is greater than their accumulated experience, which is often very valuable to an NPO.

Sneak a peek at their social media

It’s only natural for your candidates to do their absolute best to leave a powerful impression. They’ll put forth their finest achievements, their best attributes, all the while trying to conceal their flaws. However, flaws make us human, and those everyday quirks can sometimes determine whether or not someone makes a good fit for your business.

Take a look at their social media profiles, from Facebook to LinkedIn, and you’ll have much more information at your disposal to see what inspires them, what makes them laugh, what they care about, and how they communicate.

Every single person that joins your NPO team can either contribute to your progress or hinder your growth. It’s up to you to refine your hiring strategies in order to find the best people to work along your side and ultimately make the world a better place as a team.

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