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January 20, 2022
Nonprofits Seek Diverse Staff, but Few Have a Formal Strategy
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December 4, 2021 — Massachusetts nonprofits and their peers across the country by a wide margin say hiring a diverse range of professional talent will be a top priority during the coming year, but relatively few have a formal talent management strategy, according to a recently completed national survey.

According to Nonprofit HR’s 2022 Nonprofit Talent Management Priorities survey, 79% of 415 participating organizations said they are prioritizing talent acquisition in 2022, up from 59% last year, and 69% said attracting/hiring diverse talent across all demographics, including but not limited to race, age, gender, identity, and differing abilities, is a top priority, which is also up from 54% in 2021.

However, according to the survey, only 25% have a formal talent management strategy or plan in place, while 68% said they do not have a talent management strategy or plan.

In addition, organizations that will strengthen their employer brand to attract better talent is also up to 46% from 25% a year ago. Social impact organizations across the nation are also increasing their focus on total rewards with 65% focusing in this area, compared to 46% last year.

The data regarding talent acquisition also showed that instead of focusing on implementing initiatives to increase candidate engagement at 15%, as was the case a year ago, 50% of organizations that are prioritizing talent acquisition are planning to strengthen internal capacity around interviewing skills, which includes behavioral interviewing, training staff to conduct proper interviews and mitigating bias in the interviewing process.

Additionally, 51% of organizations plan to prioritize total rewards with a focus on implementing merit-based pay programs, which, according to Nonprofit HR, historically has not been a major focus.

“Focusing on total rewards is one way that mission-driven organizations are responding to the Great Resignation,” noted Lisa Brown Alexander, CEO of Nonprofit HR.

Sixty-four percent of survey respondents said insufficient staff resources will impede their ability to realize their talent management priorities, i.e., culture and engagement, learning and development, and 50% said they didn’t have enough financial resources.

The survey findings take on added significance, because another survey, by, published in its recently released Nonprofit Trends Report, found that 72 of 250 U.S. nonprofits anticipate adding to headcount within the next year. Additionally, when asked, 79% of respondents said it was likely their organization would outsource jobs in the next three years.

Given anticipated staff turnover, Brown Alexander said, “We are seeing more and more nonprofits take proactive steps to deepen their commitment to their employees.”

The Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report echoed the sentiment, noting, “Build genuine connection with your staff, have ongoing conversations, and get buy-in on organizational performance and your vision to ensure near- and long-term sustainability. Have empathy and provide resources so each member of your team knows you care not only about the viability of your organization but that you care about them as an individual.”

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