Attracting Workers to Nonprofit Organizations


NPOs are on the rise. In 2018, the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) reported that “The nonprofit sector contributed an estimated $985.4 billion to the US economy in 2015, composing 5.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.”

Nonprofit Organizations (NPO) are unique in that they have similar challenges as for-profit businesses, but frequently operate with limited funds. Employees wear many hats in nonprofits and often work for less pay. How can NPOs make their work environments desirable to potential volunteers and employees?

Wharton marketing professor, Deborah Small, conducted a study that showed that “…if organizations want to raise money for a charitable cause, it is far better to appeal to the heart than to the head.” Being able to appeal to the hearts of all types of individuals is important when developing long-term relationships that help your NPO thrive.

According to a McKinsey study, it’s critical to attract and keep high-quality individuals because top talent is exponentially more productive, and in a tight job market, high performers are hard to find.  In addition, turnover is expensive!  Telling a compelling story, organizing communications and putting training programs in place is a step in the right direction when it comes to staff retention.

Using Social Media

“A good story is relatable to people of all ages and cultures. A great story can inspire, attract great attention, or respond to something meaningful in the lives of people around the world,” according to Queens University of Charlotte.  NPOs have found that utilizing social media is not only cost-effective, but it’s also an easy way to reach millions. Organizations – for-profit, not-for-profit, big and small – have seen the advantages of using social media for broad communication.  But to reap those benefits, and in order to stand out in a crowd, telling a captivating story is a must.

Organizational Communication

Another way to increase impact is to have an organized approach towards communication.  Communication can be formal or informal, and happens at all levels of a work environment.  It also sounds like something an organization with limited resources and overworked employees can overlook. The truth is that communication is vital, and having a solid communication strategy is one of the most beneficial things an NPO can do to ensure a long future. Consistent, relevant messaging can help with the organization’s public image, as well as consumer satisfaction and employee morale.  The strategy should tie back to the company’s goals and include specific metrics that can be tracked to gauge performance (successes and failures). 


It’s important for NPOs to create an organized way of communicating particularly in the early stages of development. Misguided employees/volunteers cannot accomplish the amount of work needed to build a successful organization. One way an NPO can help itself is by investing time in developing volunteer and employee training programs.  Assessing needs and creating useful/relevant training is imperative as it increases engagement, improves retention and helps people get better at their jobs.

NPOs are built with “good” in mind. Today, people recognize the power of NPOs more than ever before. Unique stories paired with excellent communication strategies and training programs attract others.  People are willing to give time and energy towards organizations with strong missions and messages they can believe in.


%d bloggers like this: