Entries with Blog Label Nonprofit Hiring .

August 22, 2022

Upskilling and Reskilling Your Nonprofit Workforce

As a nonprofit leader, when it comes to the future of your workforce, focusing on skills is an essential step. However, many upskilling strategies are missing the mark. The confusion often starts with a lack of understanding the difference between upskilling, reskilling and cross-skilling—the lines tend to blur and identifying the role of each will better equip your organization to prepare for the future of work. While both upskilling and reskilling are about learning new skills, the context for each is a bit different. Upskilling is focused on helping employees become more knowledgeable and develop new competencies that relate to their current position while reskilling is about equipping workers to switch lanes and move into new roles within your organization. Cross-skilling is the process of developing skills that are valuable across multiple functions.

There’s no denying that upskilling and reskilling initiatives require a significant investment, in both money and time. Superior approaches generally include both compelling content as part of a Learning and Development (L&D) curriculum, as well as experimental opportunities such as mentoring and projects. Given the effort upskilling and reskilling require, some might wonder if it might just be easier to prioritize external hiring. While it might sound like a simpler strategy on the surface, turning to new talent won’t solve your skill-building concerns. Even if your organization manages to recruit employees with the necessary skills, these recruits will need to build new capabilities in the future. Since the pace of change is accelerating, offering opportunities for upskilling and reskilling has become unavoidable this day in age.

When determining the best form of training for your employees, it can depend on the permanency of their positions. It would be a poor use of resources to invest in the professional development of an employee whose role is becoming obsolete. Upskilling tends to benefit positions that can easily evolve with the organization, while reskilling is perfect for helping employees of changing departments get ready for entirely new workplace obligations. Organizations that are content with their current staff can use upskilling to continuously help their employees develop their qualifications without reassigning them a different position. You can help support your staff grow as professionals by providing them with enriching training opportunities while maintain an effective forward-thinking team in the workplace. 

Taking into account the skill set of your team, your organization can then determine if a particular employee will remain in their current position or if their capabilities will be more beneficial in another area of the organization. Staff members who exceed the organization’s expectations in their department and have proved to be excellent leaders should undergo reskilling to prepare them for a promotion. Where a promotion isn’t an option, perhaps they could make a lateral move, in which their salary and hierarchy stay the same but their position changes. Employees who would benefit from honing their existing abilities can do so through upskilling programs.

Upskilling and reskilling your professionals will have significant impact on their careers. Offering either form of training to an employee can develop their professional skills and position them as a valuable member of your organization. Businesses that understand the benefits of both processes will help their employees find success in whichever position and responsibilities they undertake.

July 12, 2019

3 Reasons Paid Internships Benefit Nonprofits

When looking to hire interns to work at your nonprofit, there are multiple factors that can help determine if your organization wants to offer a paid or unpaid internship. On January 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) “created new guidance for determining whether a worker could be classified as an unpaid intern under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).” The FLSA requires “for-profit” employers to pay employees for their work. However, this is not always the case when it comes to interns. Under the FLSA, interns may not be classified as “employees” which puts them in a situation where they don’t receive compensation for their work. With these new rules in place, employers now have more say when implementing unpaid internships.

Internships can provide highly beneficial, sought after opportunities for individuals and organizations alike, especially nonprofits.  Internships give organizations unique ways to observe new talent, promote training and share resources within their community. Often interns can be college students and these internships can allow students and other individuals creative ways to grow in their intended fields, to learn valuable work skills and to develop their resumes for future success. 

As a nonprofit, deciding to offer a paid internship can be a difficult decision to make, however, here are three reasons why a paid internship could be the way to go:

1) An unpaid internship could limit your pool of candidates to choose from, ruling out college students who come from lower and middle-income backgrounds. Not only are these students looking for compensation to pay for a college, they need money for everyday necessities.

2) Since interns tend to work on teams with paid employees, an unpaid internship can affect the work of those paid employees making their work feel less valued.

3) Keep in mind, when assigning projects to an unpaid intern to make sure the work isn’t something they should be compensated for – which could result in wage claims. Offering a paid internship can prevent issues like this from arising.

Bringing on interns is a great way to help those new to the workforce learn what it takes to be successful in the working world while helping nonprofits get special projects completed. Plan ahead and structure your program so that your internship program is a great experience for all those involved.

January 24, 2019

Recruit Your Next Employee via Texting

Technology continues to create more tools for recruiters to use to reach potential candidates—whether it be via email, social platforms like LinkedIn or the most popular, texting. While texting is an informal way to communicate, it can act as simple way to vet someone to see if they are a good fit for your company or at the very least, see if they are interested—this can be an optimal time saver. The number of technology companies creating messaging tools to help organizations reach potential employees by text continues to grow.

With most nonprofit organizations are constrained by limited bandwidth, utilizing a text-messaging platform could be a beneficial solution that could help bring in the ideal employee while managing time more effectively. Adding this type of tool to your hiring process can help fine tune interview logistics and allow for pre-screening questions prior to scheduling a phone or in-person interview. In such a highly competitive market, nonprofits are always looking for solutions to grab the attention of candidates that are the best fit for the job as well as better manage how they communicate with those seeking an open position.  

Compared to email and job board email listings, incorporating text messaging into your recruiting process can increase the likelihood of actually getting a response. Texting offers a quick back and forth conversation, which can help move the process along at a quicker pace, allowing employers to ask basic questions regarding requirements, experience and availability—while candidates can ask about benefits or pay. This could all be discussed before scheduling a meeting or even a phone call—preventing the off chance of wasting either parties’ time. Texting also offers an informal environment that can help decrease the chances of any awkwardness of a first-time discussion.

While text-based recruiting is more commonly used for higher volume job categories such as retail, food service, nursing and customer service, there are some companies using these solutions for professional jobs or high-demand positions such as software programming. These messaging tools are being used to hire a wide-range of positions and continue to become more sophisticated as the demand increases.

December 07, 2018

5 Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit’s Hiring Process

The role of an HR professional requires wearing many hats and with that comes the challenge of juggling multiple projects, involving various moving parts of a nonprofit organization. One of the biggest and most challenging tasks that lives on the desk of human resource professionals is recruiting/hiring new employees. Most have come to learn that the hiring process has a tendency to be biased, which comes with moments of being unfair to certain applicants. While most of it comes from an unconscious bias, these acts still play an intricate role in making a decision when hiring a new employee.

While bringing awareness to our natural bias and attempting to correct these behaviors can be difficult, there are solutions that can be put into place to offer your human resource’s team a strategic plan to help prevent such biases from occurring.  

1) Reformat your job descriptions: A job description is one of the most crucial parts of the hiring process. It sets the tone for everything that follows and the parameters around the type of person you’re looking to hire—from their skills to their capabilities. The use of different words can have a greater impact than you realize on the candidates that come across your job listing. For example, certain adjectives like “competitive” and “determined” can be more appealing to men where as “collaborative” and “cooperative” tend to resonate more with women.

2) Try “blind hiring”: A technique that “blinds” you from seeing any demographic-related information for a particular candidate. This approach can help improve the chances of not weeding out a great candidate and to retain a more dynamic interview pool without your natural bias interfering with the hiring process.

3) Assessments using work examples: Offering a test to solve work-related problems can be a helpful indicator to both the potential hire and employer— revealing their level of job performance and the opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate his or her skill level. This can help eliminate the bias and unconscious judgement of appearance, gender, age and personality.

4) Create a consistent interview process: While an unstructured interview can allow for a more organic conversation, it tends to be unreliable when predicting job success. Whereas in a structured interview, the candidate is asked a set of defined questions, allowing employers to focus on the key factors that have an impact on performance—this approach offers a consistent interview process and minimizes potential bias.

5) Implement goals of diversity: Creating these goals will offer guidance and define the parameters in which to abide by—this helps keep diversity and equality top of mind when hiring future employees. 

August 17, 2018

Nonprofit eBook Uncovers Six Strategies to Develop and Maintain a Thriving Workforce

UST releases a new eBook, focused on helping nonprofit organizations create a workforce to stand apart in a competitive job market.

Founded by nonprofits for nonprofits, UST publishes an eBook that reveals the latest best practices that can help nonprofits find and retain employees that fit their organization’s culture, mission and values. This resourceful eBook provides ideal strategies nonprofits can utilize when tackling a competitive market and juggling the many organizational challenges that comes with maintaining a dynamic workforce.

The eBook, “Competitive Hiring Practices That Empower Nonprofits,” reveals that “56 percent believe their current job is only a temporary stepping stone to something better.” However, with the right tools in place nonprofits will be able to offer their employee’s professional development while creating a nurturing base where talented people can grow, feel challenged and valued.

“Hiring the best-fit personnel can be demanding of your time, energy and resources”, explains Donna Groh, Executive Director of UST. “This eBook offers the critical tools organizations need to draw in and maintain best-fit professionals that can help carry out mission-driven initiatives.”

With recent survey data and nonprofit employment trends, UST is able to provide nonprofits with six proven strategies to develop and maintain a thriving workforce.

The eBook, now available for free download, also offers:

  • New statistics from the sector
  • Onboarding and coaching tactics
  • Key ways to create a stand-out culture
  • Critical employee engagement tips

Be sure to download your complimentary copy today!

November 16, 2017

Why Nonprofits Should Stop Avoiding Overqualified Candidates

Overqualified candidates can often be challenging for nonprofits to take on—while experience, knowledge and self-sufficiency can be appealing, the potential for boredom and chances for increased turnover in the workplace can make any employer feel uneasy. While there are both benefits and downsides to hiring overqualified candidates, finding a middle ground is key to gaining the most value from these particular hires and providing work that continues to challenge them.

The “right” overqualified candidate can bring a plethora of skill sets to a nonprofit organization—experience, expertise, proficiency in basic skills, leadership potential and the ability to take on challenging projects and tasks. Unfortunately, the chance of these candidates being ruled out solely on a brief look at their resume happens more often than we think.

Often, a presumed risk among nonprofit organizations is that these candidates may become bored, unmotivated or leave the position quickly. On the bright side, overqualified candidates are likely to be able to hit the ground running. Already being equipped with the basic skills needed for the position, they likely don’t require too much hand-holding. In the long-run, this can help you save valuable time and money when it comes to onboarding.

The key to bringing on any new hire is finding the right balance. When it comes to an overqualified candidate, an employer may have concerns about training because they may have habits that are difficult to modify. On the other hand, if the candidate is educated about the culture and values of your organization during the recruitment process, they will embrace and absorb new formalities relatively quickly. 

To avoid being a “life raft” or “stepping stone”, it is important to be honest and transparent with a candidate that is overqualified. Explain your concerns about the role in comparison to their experience and be upfront about your expectations. One of the most common concerns is the topic of salary. During these conversations, it’s important to touch on the candidate’s long-term career goals, including what motivated them to apply for this position and what they hope to contribute to the organization.

Last but not least, remember to keep an open mind! While a candidate may look like they are overqualified on paper, they may have a personal reason for applying to the position. They may be looking to switch into a different industry that they’re more passionate about… they may have always wanted to work for a nonprofit and it’s beneficial for you to find out whether they could be a positive addition to your team and help further strengthen your mission. 

October 12, 2017

Does Your Resume Pass the Six Second Skim Test?

When seeking a new job opportunity, your goal is for your resume to capture the attention of a busy recruiter and for them to bring you in for an interview. In order for this scenario to take place, you need to understand the day in the life of a recruiter.

Recruiters will receive hundreds, maybe even thousands, of resumes making it quite impossible for them to go through each one. The line-by-line method is difficult to achieve when receiving such a large volume of resumes, as there just isn’t enough time in the day. In the nonprofit sector, this can pose as an even bigger challenge. With some nonprofits not having a designated HR team—maybe one HR employee at most—this can make reviewing resumes very time consuming and burdensome.

When a recruiter is reviewing a resume, his or her eyes are moving down the page in a Z-pattern—left to right all the way down. They’re looking for certain key terms that relate to the job they’re trying to fill. This first pass is called the Six Second Skim Test. If a recruiter comes across what he or she is looking for in that first pass, your resume will likely get a shot at a more in-depth resume review. And, if they still like what they see, you might even get a phone call asking you to come in for an interview.

In order to pass the six second skim test, formatting can make all the difference. Showcasing your key skill sets and keywords that relate to the job for which you’re applying, can make you stand out from the rest. Adding these simple key changes can significantly improve the chances of your resume getting noticed.

Nonprofit organizations have to use their time as efficiently as possible, making this six second skim test a useful tactic to incorporate when recruiting and hiring future candidates.

May 03, 2017

[Podcast] Searching for Your Nonprofit’s New Top-Notch Executive

Through the Noise recently spoke with Pamela Kaul, President at Association Strategies, Inc., to discuss how nonprofits can attract the best-fit candidates when searching for a new executive to head their organization.

Podcast Description:  This podcast discusses how most people can effectively talk about their company, but need to significantly improve upon how they talk about themselves—a skill that is crucial to advancing to and maintaining executive level status. The Founder and President of Association Strategies, Inc., Pamela offers three decades of experience in executive search, transition management and organization development.

Association Strategies, Inc. ASI is a premier executive search and transition management firm dedicated to finding and placing top notch talent in trade associations, professional societies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. To learn more about Association Strategies, Inc., visit their website at

Listen to Podcast:

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September 12, 2016

Webinar: Onboarding Tips to Start the Employment Relationship Right

Moving away from a traditional new hire orientation program can be scary... BUT can also be very cost-effective.

By implementing a more robust onboarding process that introduces new team members to the company, their jobs, their co-workers and helps them better understand what the company expects from them, new hires will contribute more quickly in their jobs and are likely to stick around longer.

Presented by ThinkHR, this 60-minute webinar is designed to spark your creative juices to design a more productive and meaningful employee onboarding experience with elements that are simple, fun and tie to your company culture.

In the session, you will learn:

  • Why new hire orientation programs need to change
  • How to reset the new hire orientation focus to reimage the employee onboarding experience
  • What tools you may already have available to use for your program, including your goal-setting, performance management and employee development processes
  • How technology and training enhances the onboarding experience

Throughout the presentation, Dan Riordan, President & COO of ThinkHR, will share tips and key findings with you and answer any additional questions you may have.

When: Tuesday, September 20th at 8:30 PDT / 11:30 EDT

Visit to sign up for a free 30-day trial of the UST HR Workplace, powered by ThinkHR.

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