Millennials key to nonprofits' futures

Recruiting young talent for any business can be difficult, but retaining top recruits can be even more challenging.

In the nonprofit sector, competing against large corporations that offer higher salaries poses a threat to attracting strong candidates. But according to a piece written for The Guardian by Rachel Whale, charities don't have to shift their recruiting paradigm; they just need to approach the issue differently.

Whale, the director of Charityworks, a nonprofit graduate program in the U.K., suggests that the pitch to young adults shouldn't center around money or a hard-line career path. Rather, label the opportunity as a way to support change or solve some of the most pertinent social issues in the world today. In framing the open positions in a way that shows your future employees they could be making a difference, there's a better chance in attracting them to your company.

By engaging with future talent, it shows that you and your organization value them as a potential employee. And if you can hire them early on, you are more likely to retain them once they're on board, Whale believes. By labeling your position as a cutting-edge way to solve current community issues, you are continually demonstrating how new hires can make a difference.

Inside the Millennial mind
A recent study by Achieve - a company who specialized in fundraising for charitable causes - found that millennials support causes they are passionate about, as opposed to institutions. A different study conducted by MTV found that 66 percent of millennials are interested in helping those less fortunate in their communities - a surprising rebuttal to an APA study which found only 36 percent of young adults would participate in a local action or program.

In motivating a young adult to stay and work for your charity, understanding his or her values are important. It's often been said that millennials are narcissistic and self-centered individuals, but a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study ironically shows that young adults prefer social values at work as opposed to traditional needs, like pay structure. For example, millennials were found to prefer a strong, team-oriented atmosphere and opportunities for interesting work, placing a high importance on a sense of community. 

In attracting and holding onto young talent - which can be classified many different ways - charities are setting themselves up for success down the road. Instead of trying to recruit experienced professionals from the private sector, nonprofits can nurture and groom young talent on par with organizational values, Whale says. 

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