Nonprofit All Stars….Have Common Qualities

Posted by Ashley Ryall On May 30, 2012 12:35:00 PM


Nonprofit All Stars...Have Common Qualities

Nonprofit organizations need specific talent, with certain abilities and personalities, in order to raise awareness of their cause and meet funding and growth objectives.  For example, nonprofit founder and author Laura Gassner Otting says, “Every day people come to work in the nonprofit sector because they have decided to do something bigger than themselves” – a common personality trait that nonprofit HR professionals highly rate when evaluating candidates. Actually, there are several characteristics that these HR professionals tend to admire and consider heavily.

 Hard Skills/Experience

Those with fundraising, grant writing and/or donor development experience tend to stand out in a pool of applicants vying for an NPO job. Also, Raiser’s Edge gift processing software knowledge is a highlight for several nonprofit hiring managers who look for that quantitative eye. “Sales-y” marketing or business development professionals are generally attractive candidates because they often bring to the table that distinct ability to overcome rejection, an all-too-familiar experience and crucial aspect of the nonprofit environment. These individuals are often the go-to players who make things happen in an organization.

Soft Skills/Personality

Cause-oriented individuals who believe in and have great expectations for people who can overcome challenges are generally perceived favorably among nonprofit hiring professionals. “This aspirational thinking,” according to Curtis Chang, CEO and founder of an organization that services social entrepreneurs, “is a crucial ingredient for any leader of social change.” Highly motivated individuals who demonstrate an instinctual need to help and serve others as well as those who are honest, ethical and empathetic are a natural fit in this industry.  

Hiring strategies for nonprofit HR professionals:

  • Consider people who fall outside your industry who can bring marketing, finance or other skills and experiences to the table

  • Look for ways to build relationships with people in the corporate world that don’t involve immediately asking for money.”

Hiring strategies for nonprofit job seekers:

  • Consider these hard and soft skills mentioned and tailor your resume and cover letters for nonprofit jobs to demonstrate your competencies

  • Educate yourself about the nonprofit industry relative to your locale; who’s hiring and what are the current trends and issues?

  • Follow the companies you want to work for on LinkedIn and speak to their status updates when you reach out and make your pitch

Like most things in life…success in hiring/job hunting is all about the preparation!! 

See our blog post below on the nonprofit organization who has pulled their team of cause-oriented professionals to raise heart awareness through their annual Lawyers Have Heart 5K race that is kicking off this evening in the Seaport District. John Leonard will be participating by running and through the heart health forum on Twitter. Today, as well as the rest of the week, bring your friends, come hang out and join the conversation at #LHHBoston, whenever you have a minute. Encourage your followers to take care of their heart and learn how you can too.


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