Top tips for nonprofits recruiting on campus

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The nonprofit sector has grown at a staggering rate, employing 13% of the Canadian workforce. However, 54% of workers at a nonprofit organization are unpaid volunteers and a massive 86% of nonprofits operate with less than five full-time employees. This creates challenges when recruiting students. Students are motivated by two primary objectives, a desire to work for a cause and develop a career with purpose and the goal of making a living wage that can sustain a lifestyle and potentially support a future family.

Nonprofits can provide intense emotional and professional fulfillment but often cannot pay a wage that is competitive with some for-profit employers. So it’s crucial for nonprofit employers to develop a unique recruitment strategy that builds on the sector’s strengths and appeals to young people. The key is to recruit in a targeted, efficient and fun way! By implementing interesting and engaging recruitment styles you can offset any disadvantages and enhance your employer value proposition for top young talent.

Our Top Tips for Nonprofits Recruiting on Campus

1. Engage in service learning programs

A recent trend in classrooms in university is to introduce students to real-life issues within real organizations and have the students work together to provide ideas for solutions. Some examples include students working on marketing plans or operational effectiveness schedules as a case study to show off their skills while crowd sourcing fresh, innovative ideas for the organization. Not only are you having an issue in your organization examined with fresh eyes but you are introducing your organization to a range of students who can then promote it to others, casting a wider net for your recruitment efforts. Through this process you can identify and engage students that stand out in a meaningful way and develop a relationship that could lead to recruiting them for internships, co-ops or any full time entry level roles you may have.

2. Engage with extra curricular clubs

The vast majority of university engagement actually happens outside the classroom. There are a myriad of student run organizations and clubs that engage with predetermined nonprofits or create new partnerships with nonprofits. By partnering with a student club you are getting first hand access to students who have actively sought out volunteer opportunities and have demonstrated core values that are aligned with your organization’s nonprofit purpose. With this foundational relationship you can more easily attract candidates for your recruitment needs. By creating a partnership instead of a one time event you are able to build a talent pipeline of potential employees (and volunteers!) throughout the years, so you are never short for talent who are already part of your extended family.

3. Run a university wide challenge

Students love a little competition, and when you add a social cause, young people become even more passionate. Your organization can implement a challenge on campus open to individuals or groups where they actively try to fundraise or spread awareness for your causes. The winner can win an interview opportunity for an entry level or internship position within your organization -- which means you are literally getting the top talent from the talent pool on campus who take part in the challenge. Take a look at our new TalentEgg xocial Impact Movement and sponsor your own Challenge to do just that!

4. Get social

Social media is no longer optional. Students, grads and young professionals are overwhelmingly getting an increasing amount of their news and information, even career opportunities, through social media. With our world changing every twenty seconds and increasingly using digital content and marketing, employers need to keep up to date and communicate on the platforms and in the media that is most popular with young people. The upside to using social media as part of a recruitment strategy is that it’s a cost effective way to engage with a large range of young people in a meaningful way. Run online debates or create a hashtag for when students perform acts that align with your organization’s causes. Don't just create a post for people to see, create an activity for people to interact with. The more potential candidates interact with the organization, the more you are able to learn about them and the easier it is to recruit them, having already established a relationship.

5. Be present

Don't hide behind your organization’s logos! Go to university and college campuses to speak about your organization, use your alumni connections to attend networking events and orientations. A physical presence is very important to students, because, despite being digital natives, they crave personal connections with potential employers. Young candidates want to feel as if they’re joining a community not just an organization. A great way to do this is through student ambassadors. Use your young volunteers or former interns as ambassadors to advocate for your employer value proposition -- qualities like culture, causes and social impact. These can be volunteer positions for students who have engaged with the organization previously, who believe in your cause and the positive change you make in the world. They are the perfect ambassadors to promote your organization as having a worthy cause, but also as a top employer and a potential place to hatch a career with purpose!

After implementing these tips, you will be attracting the top talent in no time! For more tips and best practices from peers and experts in campus recruitment, be sure to join us to celebrate our 10th anniversary as a top job board and career resource in Canada at the TalentEgg National Campus Recruitment Awards and Conference on June 26th! Not-for-profit organizations receive a 25% discount on tickets! Visit our Awards website for more information.

TalentEgg is Canada's most popular job board and online career resource for students and recent graduates. Since 2008, TalentEgg has helped millions of students and recent grads hatch their careers, and has worked with hundreds of Canadian employers to successfully attract top Gen Y and Gen Z talent to join their organizations. Connect with TalentEgg on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for job opportunities, career advice, and more.

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