How to hire your first nonprofit employee - Charity Savant

If you’re involved in running a charity, you know all too well how important it is to have support. You may have awesome volunteers helping out right now, but there comes a time when your nonprofit will be ready to grow by hiring its first official staff member.

Most volunteer-run organizations have a board of directors who will decide when it’s time to hire and pay an Executive Director, or any other staff. It’s important to remember to be strategic when you’re adding staff. Ask yourself what you need and where a paid position would have the most impact.

Here are 4 tips to help you get started recruiting and hiring your charity’s first employee:

Create a recruitment schedule

A schedule will keep everything on track, and will help guide key hiring decisions, like how many interview rounds you’ll require for the role. Your schedule should include: timelines for writing the job description, expected posting date, application deadline, interview schedule, and anticipated hire and start dates.

Be clear about your expectations

Charity jobs can be demanding, often requiring one person to take on multiple roles. When recruiting and hiring, be clear about expectations. One way to communicate this is to write a clear, comprehensive job description. Another way is to have frank discussions about expectations during the interview process.  

Prepare for the interview

You should be just as prepared for interviews as your candidates are. Take time to come up with a list of questions that will get at a candidate’s behaviour, and help you gauge experience and fit. For example: “Tell me about a time when you came into conflict with a co-worker. How did you handle it?” If you’re conducting a second interview, you can make a list of items that came up in the first interview that you’d like to probe more. Be sure to share this information with whoever is conducting the interview.

Work out the details

Before you hire, you absolutely need to have all your ducks in a row. How will you ensure employees are paid on a regular schedule, and that appropriate taxes are deducted? Do you have human resources policies in place? Do you have employment contracts ready to go, or an employment lawyer to consult? Do you need insurance? Have you conducted salary scale research to ensure you’re paying employees fairly?

Ashleigh Saith

Co-Founder, Charity Savant

Ashleigh Saith is a fundraiser and nonprofit leader with years of experience working in small- and mid-sized nonprofits. She’s passionate about nonprofit marketing and leadership, and found herself with a shocking knack for finance. While out running, Ashleigh thinks about new ways that Charity Campus can help nonprofit staff and volunteers grow, learn, and connect with each other.