Best Technology Practices for Hiring Nonprofit Staff, Part One

Originally published by @TechSoup at on April 8, 2021.

At the core of your nonprofit is, of course, your mission. But success in delivering on that promise to your community depends on your employees. To that end, being able to attract and successfully recruit top talent for your nonprofit is of utmost importance. Whether you are new to recruiting or you’re a seasoned veteran, technology plays a big role in how you recruit, even before you reach out to a candidate. In this two-part series, we’ll go over some areas to think about as you set up your recruitment process.

In our first installment, we’ll cover the technological considerations you’ll need to keep in mind. In part two of this series, we’ll go over how to best manage the recruitment and hiring process once you’ve identified your job candidates.

Let’s dive in.

The Importance of Keeping Up to Date

There are a lot of advantages to conducting this sort of audit. Having the right tools to create, store, and maintain your job descriptions is useful. You can use them to inform hiring teams about the role they’re recruiting for and to lead discussions about performance once the candidate has been hired. They could even be helpful for legal purposes.

Choosing the best platforms to advertise your roles will allow the right candidates to find you and help build a strong and diverse workforce. It’s important to think about the technology you are using to power your recruitment and hiring process as central to your efforts. Using the right solutions to support processes here will help save employee time, reduce budgets, and allow you to keep a bird’s eye view over the hiring process in general.

But using the right hiring tools will also show candidates how you operate, technologically speaking. If a candidate isn’t impressed with your use of technology, they may choose to work elsewhere. It may not seem obvious, but your tech infrastructure around the hiring process tells candidates a lot about how your organization operates and what it values.

Functionality Within Platforms

You may have platforms that can act as a career page and applicant tracking system (ATS), as well as serve as your HR information system (HRIS) on the back end. You can find an HRIS (like ADP, PayCom, or Paylocity) that can perform payroll functions, manage performance, administer benefits, store documents, and onboard. This means you don’t have to buy new systems to perform this function.

Some platforms integrate with other systems to supplement the features they don’t have. For example, an ATS like Greenhouse, JazzHR, and Lever may integrate with a calendaring system to schedule interviews more easily. This would save you from having to go back and forth between candidate and hiring manager to schedule an interview. You might even have an ATS that integrates with your HRIS. Once you are done recruiting the candidate, you can move them into your HRIS and start the hiring process.

Creating and Storing Hiring Documents

Once you’ve created your job descriptions, you’ll need to store and manage them for recruiting, talent management, and potentially legal reasons. Wherever you store them, whether it’s in a personnel file or elsewhere, it must be consistent and accessible to the right people. Some HR information systems and applicant tracking systems have a document cloud where you can create and store files. You can also create a folder on websites like Google Drive or Box to keep the files secure.

The Recruiting Process

If you assign a take-home project or presentation, think of where you will want the candidate to upload their work. Again, having an upload link in Box or Google Drive would be useful here. Avoid asking candidates to submit these items as email attachments since you will then be required to store them in a central location anyhow, where the entire hiring team can review them. This also prevents losing these documents if a member of your hiring team leaves your organization and forgets to store them in the cloud before doing so.

Advertising Jobs

If your nonprofit is small or new, it may not make sense to have a career page until you’ve grown your operations a bit. In this situation, it might make sense to stick to recruiting within your network, asking for referrals, or simply having an email address that people can reach out to in order to submit their resumes or make general inquiries. But again, you should be storing all candidate submissions, including resumes, in the cloud. It might even make more sense to go to meetups that target the sort of hiring you’re looking to do. is a good place to start.

As an organization grows, it’s essential to build a career page on your nonprofit’s website. You want to be able to point someone to the job description and receive their application via a central source, such as a form on a career page. If you are not ready to invest in an ATS that connects with your website, you may decide to post your position on job boards like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Craigslist. Include contact info for interested candidates to reach out to. These days you’ll even see positions on social media, targeted diversity boards, or even at university career fairs.

And remember, even if you don’t have all your “dream software,” it doesn’t mean that you can’t recruit great talent. However, it does mean that you need to be resourceful and think about what you currently have and how you can make it work for you. For example, most organizations have access to basic productivity suites such as Office 365 and Google Workspace. Either of these solutions can work well provided the right processes are in place.

Now we’ve laid out all the recruiting steps before a candidate even enters your process. In our next post, we will talk about how to manage the process once you’ve started interacting with candidates.

TechSoup’s Elaine McKay contributed to the development of this blog post.

Additional Resources

Top photo: Shutterstock

Originally published at on April 8, 2021.

Connecting mission-based & community-based organizations to mission-critical tech resources, knowledge & community for change-makers. #nonprofits |

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