How Can Nonprofits Compete for Top Tech Talent?

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August 7, 2012; Source: Mashable

For a lot of nonprofits, attracting the “best and brightest” tech brains might seem impossible. After all, the corporate guys can often offer higher salaries and all sorts of bonus goodies. But writing for Mashable, Scott Gerber of the Young Entrepreneur Council offers some real-life tips from nonprofits and social startups that have found ways to compete for the top talent. Here’s the greatest takeaway: successful entrepreneurial companies are actually harnessing their mission, rather than money, to attract and retain employees. Here’s a sampling of some of the advice from the leaders Gerber talked to:

  • “There’s nothing more contagious than a passion for mission,” Derek Flanzraich of Greatist said. He and several other startup leaders find that a shared mission for making a difference inspires the best and brightest tech workers. They report that their employees want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, and when they do, they don’t mind making sacrifices—or at least foregoing perks—because doing good feels good.
  • Even if you can’t offer money, you can offer flexibility and recognition. Successful startup leaders shared stories about giving employees paid time off to follow their dreams, or promising to spotlight new employees on their website.
  • Offer a chance to volunteer or do pro bono work as an incentive. In addition to being attracted to companies with a strong mission, some of the brightest tech workers are also drawn to companies that will allow them the time and resources to get involved in their own philanthropy.

Even Wall Street Journal Deputy Editor Steve Rosenbush acknowledges that Wall Street is losing the competitive edge to more nimble and savvy companies. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has also noted that nonprofits are encountering a wealth of over-qualified tech candidates applying for jobs. This is all good news for social sector companies that understand only too well that they need to compete in the tech arena, and that are now finding that they might have a serious chance at doing so. –Mary Jo Draper

  • Caroline

    This is great news. Our non-profit has struggled for years to retain techy volunteers. However, we are now using BiddingOwl as a fundraising tool and this increased our retention rate. They love working in the field of online charity auctions.