If I Were Running A Company…Nonprofit HR: Transition

When I talk to people about their job search, nearly the majority want to go into nonprofit. This is not a generational issue. This is more about people want to have a challenge and do work that feels good to them.

Although funding for nonprofits is difficult because of fewer donations and government wrangling, this is the great moment for nonprofits to hire people in prestigious companies because of the talent pool that is there.

Why there is a huge talent pool that want to go into nonprofits? There are a variety of reasons:

  • Burnout
  • New Challenge
  • Want to do good
  • Working for a specific cause
  • Go to an organization that represents their values

In today’s climate when most of the profits go to executives, people want to earn a living and do meaningful work. There are outlets out there for the transition.

Encore.org has set up pilot programs from IBM, HP, and more recently, Intel  where “retiring” employees can transition into a nonprofit career. The results have been good so far.

Although Encore aims at the 50-60 crowd, ProInspire aims for people in their middle of their careers (20s-30s crowd). ProInspire looks for people in their thriving careers to go into nonprofits and learn and enhance their organization.

The big issue transitioning from a big company to a nonprofit is the culture and resources you have to deal with. Instead of focusing purely on results, nonprofits focus on the mission…and the results. Instead of a big budget for your department, you have to deal with a “cap” in finances and see if you are resourceful.

There was a story of when I help recruit for a position from Senegal, we found the guy who was the right fit and would fit in our field office there. Before he began work, the person starts complaining to me about the shipments have not come in immediately and wanted a big house, although there were restrictions of where he lived because of the budget. He was sending emails and making phone calls complaining that we weren’t fair and wanted us to act like a big company. I have to tell him that you accepted this job and agree to the consequences of the job and that means shipping and housing for a reasonable price based on the budget. Afterwards, he settled in, but that goes to show transitioning from a big company to a nonprofit is not easy.

Working at a nonprofit can be tough, but it can be rewarding when you think about the mission first. If you think of the mission first, the transition looks seamless.

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