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December 3, 2021
Nonprofits Will Have to Compete Harder to Hire Young Workers

August 15, 2021 — Massachusetts nonprofits looking to hire younger workers to replace retiring Baby Boomers may have to rethink their recruitment strategy as new research has found that younger workers who may have sought jobs in the nonprofit sector prior to the pandemic will now seek employment where they can earn the most money.

“Post-pandemic, nonprofits can no longer rely on the lure of the mission to find young talent,” according to Influencing Young America to Act, published by Cause and Social Influence. “Wages will have to be more in line with the competition to meet new labor demands.”

The new research, based on an online survey of 1,000 Americans age 18-30, found that as young Americans emerge from the pandemic and seek positions, they care more about wages and benefits than about an organization’s contributions to the community:

  • 37% said employee benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans, was a prime reason for choosing to work for a nonprofit.
  • 31% said they were attracted by the salary or wages.
  • 24% said they were motivated by who the organization serves.

For those seeking employment at for-profit organizations, earnings outpaced benefits, 36% vs. 23%, as factors driving their decision.

Low pay was cited by 33% of survey respondents as the top reason for stopping them from working at a nonprofit; 14% cited lack of opportunities for advancement or promotion; and 11% said the “shoestring” budgets and/or have unstable sources of income/revenue kept them from joining a nonprofit.

Young Americans remain supportive of causes or social issues, the research found: “For the first time, donating professional services was among the top 3 actions young Americans took to support a social issue.”

Top issues for survey respondents were animals/animal rights, civil rights/racial discrimination/social justice, mental health, and climate change.

Factors that spurred young Americans to act included the following:

  • 44% saw the opportunity in an advertisement online, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
  • 44% took action as the request of an organization they follow
  • 24% saw the opportunity in an advertisement not online, such as on a billboard or in a print ad
  • 18% responded to a request to act by a local company from which they buy products, goods, and
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