Attracting & Retaining Nonprofit Leaders

Mar 8, 2019


This morning Gilman Partners hosted a roundtable discussion with nonprofit leaders from around the Greater Cincinnati region focused on attracting and developing talent in the nonprofit industry. Some of the key takeaways from the conversation included:


  • More and more, nonprofit employees are asked to fulfill many roles within an organization. One leader noted the younger generations of employees “grew up doing 50 things at once” and are well suited for this environment.
  • Wanting a more mission-focused career is something nonprofit leaders hear often from candidates of both nonprofit and for-profit backgrounds. But they expect to see that commitment exhibited in the candidate’s previous work or volunteer experience.
  • In addition to selling potential candidates on the organization’s mission, area nonprofits use other benefits to attract employees. Competitive vacation time was mentioned by several leaders, with some organizations starting employees at three or four weeks of PTO time. Flexible schedules, substantial 401K packages, and strong healthcare benefits were also mentioned as benefits most popular to current employees and today’s job candidates. One leader noted her organization successfully increased an employee’s PTO time as a retention tool when raising the salary wasn’t an option.
  • Encouraging employees to get involved in community service projects has a dual benefit. On one hand it helps the nonprofit organization expand its footprint and community awareness, but it’s also a strong tool to boost employee engagement and develop leadership skills.
  • Even nonprofits with seemingly engaged employees who buy into the organization’s mission can benefit from employee surveys. These can turn up insights into strategies for increasing engagement, inclusion, and benefits.