More Nonprofits Hiring in 2016, Survey Finds

A majority of nonprofit organizations expect to add new positions in 2016, a sign that the sector has rebounded from the Great Recession and continues to grow, a report from Nonprofit HR finds.

Based on a survey of nearly four hundred and fifty nonprofits in the United States and Canada, the report, Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey Results (34 pages, PDF), found that 57 percent of respondents — including 52 percent of small, 66 percent of midsize, and 59 percent of large organizations — expect to create new positions in 2016, up 7 percentage points from last year's survey, while only 8 percent plan to eliminate positions, down 7 percentage points. Conducted in partnership with GuideStar, the survey also found that 51 percent of respondents increased staff size in 2015, continuing an upward trend for the fourth straight year. Only 15 percent of respondents said they reduced headcount in 2015, the lowest figure since 2008, while 34 percent reported no change in staff size, up slightly from 33 percent in 2014.

High on the priority list of positions to be filled are fundraisers, with 44 percent of respondents planning to head staff in that area, followed by direct services (42 percent), education and community outreach (40 percent), program management and support (37 percent), and marketing, communications, and public relations (37 percent).

According to the survey, the top three staffing challenges cited by respondents are hiring qualified staff within constrained budgets (33 percent), finding qualified staff (23 percent), and maintaining salary budgets against market pressures (16 percent). The survey also found that 84 percent of the nonprofits surveyed have no formal retention strategy, 59 percent have no formal succession plan, and 55 percent of small, 23 percent of midsize, and 22 percent of large organizations have no formal diversity and inclusion strategy. To compete with the private sector in attracting and retaining talent, the report suggests, nonprofits need to invest in recruitment, retention, succession planning, and talent development.

"Job seekers are calling the shots, and nonprofits need to be ready for that," Nonprofit HR president Lisa Brown Morton told the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

"Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey Results." Nonprofit HR Report 04/22/2016. Megan O’Neil. "More Nonprofits Hang Out 'Now Hiring' Signs." Chronicle of Philanthropy 04/22/2016.