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Hiring, A Buyer's Market Once Again

Posted April 23, 2009 9:43 AM by Ted Jackson

There is always a silver lining. The economy has slowed, endowments have lost value and donations have declined. The hard work of the nonprofit sector is as needed now as ever. But this recession may help cure one of the critical crises facing the nonprofit sector today: the Senior Management Shortage.

Bridgespan Group, estimates that about 77,000 positions were open in non-profits in 2008. That number is continuing to grow at a pace faster than anticipated.

For the first time in a long time the power bases in the in the war for talent have flipped in favor of the employer. Even the Wall Street Journal blog ( is encouraging people looking for jobs to consider the nonprofit sector.

Talent is available out there but be careful to shop for the right people. What are the critical skills and cultural elements that you value? What will make the organization successful in the future? Why not use your Balanced Scorecard to help define the kind of leadership you need in your organization?

• Does the candidate have experience communicating, managing and executing strategy?

• Who are your customers? Does the candidate have experience working with this population – professionally, as a volunteer, personally? Can they translate their experience to match this population?

• Does your financial structure require fundraising? Can the candidate bring the strategy to life for potential donors?

• Take a few minutes to look at the internal process perspective of your strategy – and ask the question – what are the critical skills necessary to make this strategy happen? In what areas does the candidate overlap?

• And finally, as you look at your organizational learning and growth perspective will this person enhance the environment of learning and culture of growth that is unique to your organization.

Your strategy and Balanced Scorecard should be the cornerstone of everything you do –particularly hiring.

Filed Under Capacity


Completely agree that there are more candidates out there. But interestingly, this may make it harder to find good ones. As Auren Hoffman argues, the increased "noise level" of C-players that have been laid off makes it harder to find the A-players that you need to grow the organization. Not sure I 100% buy into his argument, but it's interesting nonetheless.

# Posted By Dylan | 4/23/09 10:12 AM
Dylan -
You make an excellent point. To confront this challenge I would direct you and our readers to read an article in the May Harvard Business Review: The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad by Claudio Fernandez-Aaroz, Boris Groysberg and Nitin Nohria.
# Posted By Laura Downing | 4/23/09 6:24 PM
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