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New Nonprofit Pulse Survey Data Reveals Job Applicants’ Outlook for Nonprofits

Almost half of the respondents for a recent Nonprofit HR pulse survey said they will seek new or different employment in the next five years and of this group, 23% said that nonprofits would not be among the types of organizations they intend to pursue. Of those who indicated they would not work for a nonprofit, the top reason (49%) cited is that organizations do not pay enough. Another 19% indicated that nonprofits do not offer good long-term career opportunities and a final 12% said nonprofits are not well-run businesses.

These statistics are alarming and should serve as a warning to social impact organizations of all types who have not adapted a talent attraction strategy to remain competitive. Gone are the days of talented professionals being willing to take a vow of poverty to work for a cause or a mission they are passionate about. The social sector, rich with diverse and rewarding career opportunities, has long faced the misperception of being low-paying with limited opportunities for professional growth.These results confirm how pervasive this misperception is across the nation and re-ignites urgency in refuting this myth.” said Lisa Brown Alexander, CEO, Nonprofit HR. 

Nonprofit HR partnered with a leading market research firm to administer the survey to over 1,000 respondents. The survey sample spanned the four regions of the United States, covering a broad respondent demographic.

As the third-largest employment sector in the country, social impact organizations remain a viable option for today’s jobseekers when their employer value propositions align with jobseekers’ preferences. Despite these findings, the results of this survey highlight specific opportunities for nonprofits and the sector to raise attractiveness and brand awareness to future jobseekers. Specifically, nonprofits can begin by assessing their total rewards program.

Anecdotally, social enterprises (for-profit firms focused for social causes) with higher brand visibility are now attracting talent that would historically have sought mission alignment with nonprofits. Still, nonprofits can connect with both current and future talent by communicating how they impact the communities that they serve, their unique benefits, and by emphasizing monetary and non-monetary rewards.

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