Social Recruiting: New, Necessary and May Be Critical to Nonprofits

Geri Stengel

Where will your organization find its next communications, marketing, or development director? In this guest post by Geri Stengel, get some tips on how to use LinkedIn to find the right candidates. Looking for a new job? Take note too!   ~Kivi

Guest Post by Geri Stengel, President of Ventureneer

Two recent studies caught my attention because they point out a looming problem for nonprofits.

Idealist.org’s Bouncing Back? found that 42% of nonprofits are planning to hire staff, from program services staff to marketing, from fundraising to IT. Nonprofit HR Solutions found that few nonprofits put aside money for hiring, which fits with another sad fact found by Idealist: most nonprofits don’t have a dedicated HR staff.

For those engaged in nonprofit marketing, it’s noteworthy that fundraising and communication staff rank high in both need and difficulty to recruit. The increasing importance of online marketing may increase the need for marketing staff to maintain social media visibility.

Recruitment needed at all levels and no budget to do so: Now that’s a problem.

But I’m happy to report that a solution is at hand: social recruiting, especially LinkedIn. Believe it or not, LinkedIn can reduce the time and money needed to fill any position from communications to IT, from front-line service delivery staff to experienced social media staff.

LinkedIn Recruiter is the platform’s primary recruiting tool. Using it is a two-part process. 

The first part is finding candidates for the jobs you need to fill.

The LinkedIn database allows you to search for people with the skills and experience you want as well as interest in your mission. You can fine-tune that search by geographic area, by education level, positions held or size of organization. Looking for someone who has experience using Facebook and YouTube as marketing tools? Use those keywords as your search terms.

Recruiter expands your reach, allows you to pinpoint exactly what you are looking for, gives you tools to track the progress of contacts and interviews, and the ability to contact candidates easily through LinkedIn. You’ll even get links to passive candidates, those not actively looking for a new position but who may be ideal for the positions.

In other words, it’s a lot like hiring a search firm but is costs much less. LinkedIn has a whole section devoted to Nonprofit Solutions and will be giving discounts on recruiting tools to eligible nonprofits.

Part two of social recruiting using LinkedIn is how you look to the candidates.

It’s not just about recruiting the best candidates. You also want to ensure that the person you want wants you. You must put your best foot forward, especially if you are recruiting management level staff.

Candidates will want access to information about your company, its leaders, and its mission. Make that information easy to find, vibrant, and inviting.

Start with a profile for the organization. Encourage your top staff and board members to keep their profiles up to date and personal. The personality and accomplishments of your organization will be important as candidates decide whether to respond to your invitation for an interview.

If those studies I mentioned give you pause, take an hour out on Oct. 13 to learn more about LinkedIn’s social recruiting tools in Ventureneer’s free webinar How to Use LinkedIn for Nonprofit Staff Recruitment. It’s the first step in avoiding a recruiting crisis in 2012.

Geri Stengel is founder and president of Ventureneer.com, which connects nonprofit execs, social entrepreneurs, and socially responsible small business owners with the knowledge they need to make the world a better place and to thrive as sustainable organizations. Her blog, Vistas, provides insights, strategies, techniques, and solutions that help values-driven businesses realize their social-change missions.

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