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If you’re a leader in a charitable organization, then you understand that nonprofit recruiting and retention are challenges in the sector. Because most nonprofits operate with small budgets that significantly hinder their abilities to amass resources, many groups operate hand to mouth. The lack of resources causes people on nonprofit teams to work long hours, sometimes much more than for-profit counterparts, for considerably less pay. Of course, this situation is unsustainable and eventually causes resentment, which leads to a revolving door and turn-over.

Unfortunately, the situation is like being on a hamster wheel because it perpetuates the cycle of going through the time and expense of hiring only to lose quality team members who then move onto other work opportunities. The continual added time and financial costs to nonprofits for recruiting make it tough for charitable groups to properly focus on the development and growth of their organizations because as talented team members leave, disruption occurs. When that happens, it makes it much harder to expand a nonprofit’s mission and the work it does in the community.

While I’ll be tackling in future articles the ways your nonprofit can improve retention, today I want to focus on recruiting and the use of artificial intelligence to make the hiring process easier for you. By that, I mean that the time your hiring managers spend in looking to recruit new team members can be better spent and you can hire people who are better matched to your job openings.

AI has permeated every aspect of our lives, and nonprofit recruitment can be one of the areas where your organization can benefit from its abilities.

Use of HigherMe in Recruitment

On our team, our vice president for operations has implemented the use of; however, although this is the tool that we’re using, there are other platforms on the market that are intended to make the hiring process more straightforward. You have to do your analysis, but some of those tools include SmartRecruiters, JobScore, and Jibe.

For our team, HigherMe allows us to provide a score to the people who apply for our open positions. As our VP for operations, Yvonne, explains,

“This program ‘scores’ the applicants for me.  Example: I may get an applicant that scores 85%, and that tells me how far the applicant is away from our facility; their availability to work with the scheduled hours and how well they answered a set of questions that are relevant to the position for which we are recruiting.”

Some of the bells and whistles of the platform include the following:

  • The entire continuum of the hiring process from tracking to hiring is all put through the platform.
  • Applicants can apply for job openings at their convenience and in easy ways, such as by the use of Text-to-Apply.
  • Interview scheduling is done automatically, which means my team can focus on other priorities. Applicants can choose timeslots that work for them and our hiring managers, eliminating the need for wasteful telephone calls and emails.
  • Our job advertisements are optimized on the top job search platforms, including Indeed and Glassdoor.
  • Although we don’t use it at the moment, we can video screen applicants.
  • We score candidates using their FitScore technology, which helps us prioritize which applicants we want to see first.

Human Oversight

HigherMe has been great for our team because it’s made the recruiting process much simpler, and that is something that could be of great benefit to nonprofits. But, there’s a caveat that is always important. We still have human oversight in the entire process. Yvonne and the hiring managers on our team make it a point to take a pass at every applicant, so there’s always a human who is wholly responsible for the entirety of the process.

However, because HigherMe scores and prioritizes the applicants, it’s easier for our team to no longer sort through hundreds of resumes and spend valuable time seeing which candidates they want to meet with first. A lot of that intensive work has disappeared, and it’s brought immeasurable efficiencies to our social enterprises.

Efficiency Brings More Resources

As a nonprofit manager, you might dismiss using an AI platform for your recruiting, but you have to weigh that initial instinct with the benefits that come from tools that can help you hire with greater efficiencies and ease. Tools such as Higherme can be used by nonprofit associations, chapter organizations, or larger groups that have more than a handful of people. The investment in money should be weighed against the increase in productivity and focus on other priorities that would otherwise be taken up with the intensity of the traditional nonprofit recruiting process.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)


© 2019 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved