Retiring baby boomers leave nonprofits struggling to fill vacancies

Over the next five years, the retiring baby boomer generation is expected to make a sizeable hole in the employee rosters of the US's nonprofits, a new survey showed. The only question: Will charities be able to handle the transition?

Conducted by the Plan Sponsor Council of America and sponsored by the Principal Financial Group, the recent survey found that while nearly three-fourths of nonprofits fully expect to fill the vacancies left by older staff members, 38 percent anticipate challenges finding talent.

What are charities facing?
As an older generation of workers slowly find their way out of the active talent pool, nonprofits are posed with the challenge of not only filling the empty roles, but finding suitable replacements. Younger staff, by little fault of their own, are likely to be inexperienced and lack the intimate knowledge of your organization's internal operations. Over 40 percent of survey respondents expect to see an increase in their organization's training needs, and almost as many worry about the skills gaps their departing employees will leave.  

Nonprofits have the unique advantage of being able to delegate sizeable quantities of work to volunteers, but seldom do they have the occupational and academic background necessary to fully satisfy employment needs. With more than half of nonprofits expected to lose up to 20 percent of their workforce, recruiting over the next few years will be crucial.

How to find what you're looking for
A lot of importance should be placed on how your charitable foundation plans to advertise vacancies. An ill-placed call to employment could inundate your inbox with irrelevant applications. Instead, carefully consider what you're looking for in a candidate and then determine what publications you should advertise in to reach the right audience.

The search should include ample external efforts, as well as internal. Use contact lists to advertise vacancies. Recipients are more likely to have a passion for your work, and be at least somewhat familiar with your group's processes. Also, consider the radius of your efforts. Do you want to look locally, or are you extending the invitation for applications nationally?

There are third parties that offer recruitment services for nonprofits, helping to remove a lot of the leg work from the search. But they come at a cost your organization may not be able to afford.

Raising money for charity is an honorable endeavor, but it's not always the most lucrative occupation. You should remember, if applicable, to remind candidates of your 403(b) retirement plans. They're an enticing option for employees looking to commit for the long term.

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