SmartRecruiters Blog

Why Hire People with Nonprofit Experience?

There are plenty of reasons employees jump from nonprofits to work in the private sector. While the benefit of improving a community through a nonprofit’s work is unparalleled in the corporate space, long hours and pay differences can prompt nonprofit employees to start exploring private sector job opportunities. So why is this important to your recruitment strategy? The answer, in short, is corporate responsibility.

More and more companies are realizing these days that corporate responsibility is great for business. Companies like Toms, LinkedIn, and Cisco have all integrated corporate philanthropy into their business models. Companies that invest in corporate philanthropy do so in a number of ways such as matching donations to nonprofits, organizing employee volunteer drives, and integrating cause marketing into their product offerings. Corporate responsibility is becoming an expected added value for consumers.  When you buy a cup of Starbucks coffee, or a pair of Toms shoes, you know a portion of those proceeds are going to a good cause. And that makes consumers more likely to build long and lasting relationships with these companies.

According to Ryan Scott, CEO of the Causecast Corporate Philanthropy platform, “Patagonia, The Body Shop and Ben & Jerry’s have carved their entire brand identities from their principled positions around ethical business and good corporate citizenship…and the dedicated following that has resulted.  And in the cutthroat race to hire top talent (even amidst a down economy), CSR is crucial; amongst Millenials, 92% want to work for a socially responsible company.”

So what does this have to do with hiring nonprofit employees?

Foster a Socially Responsible Environment

Just throwing money at social issues isn’t going to build the trust and reputation that creates long and lasting relationships with consumers. A socially responsible company needs socially responsible employees.

Companies often devote a significant percentage of their overall corporate giving through employee-centric corporate giving programs. For instance, many companies match employee donations to nonprofits or provide grants to nonprofits that their employees volunteer for. But all of this first requires employees who value giving to charitable causes monetarily or by donating their time.

And that’s why hiring nonprofit employees is great. Many people in the field have a great passion and commitment to social responsibility already. When one of your employees does good, your company looks good.

Nonprofit employees also provide great networking opportunities and a specialized knowledge base. If your company is new in the social responsibility game, former nonprofit employees can provide invaluable expertise about the world of nonprofits and social change. And it doesn’t hurt that their old colleagues can make valuable contacts in the nonprofit world.

Bring Passion and Commitment to Your Company

Let’s face it, most people don’t work for nonprofits because they dream of getting rich and famous. People get involved in nonprofits because they care. It’s that sort of passion and ethos that can be rare when looking for new hires.

Nonprofit employees are team-workers who, while having personal drive, aren’t in it solely for themselves. It’s a vision of the greater good that drove them to work in nonprofits in the first place and will lead them to work for what’s good for the company, rather just themselves.

Drawing in Nonprofit Employees.

Certainly nonprofit employees aren’t all saints, but if you create a strong reputation of corporate responsibility, or are working to build one, your future hire will be able to bring that drive and passion to the workplace.

As mentioned earlier, many companies offer volunteer grants, match donations, and offer “days of service.” According to Chris Jarvis at Realized Worth, “employee volunteering programs increase engagement levels at work when it connects to an individual’s need for meaning and accomplishment.” Not only do these programs create an environment of social responsibility among your existing employees, but they will draw in more socially responsible employees.

If you don’t offer any of these programs, get started. Entice interested new hires that have a background in nonprofits with the ability to sit in on meetings for your company’s corporate responsibility policy and goals. Many potential employees are looking for these values in any employer, so don’t get left behind.


double the donationAdam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, a company which helps nonprofits raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Photo Credit Red.

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, a company which helps nonprofits raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs.