Like many for-profit businesses throughout the country, nonprofit organizations are facing significant challenges hiring and retaining employees. Many nonprofit organizations are currently severely understaffed at a time when their services are needed the most.
Nonprofit organizations serve a crucial role in our society. They provide individuals and community members access to valuable resources that help meet their needs and get help and support they need.
Recent statistics illustrate the problem
Data from 2021 demonstrates the alarming scope of the nonprofit workforce shortage. Over 26% of nonprofit organizations reported vacancies between 20 to 29%, while over 16% reported over 30% of their positions were open.
While many industries are dealing with staffing shortages, there are many reasons why nonprofit organizations have a hard time recruiting, hiring and retaining talent.
Reasons for the shortages
Nonprofit organizations typically cannot offer salaries as high as their for-profit counterparts. Because nonprofit organizations only receive a limited number of funds through various resources, providing salary increases or other financial benefits is often not an option.
Stress and a demanding workload are another reason many job seekers may shy away from applying to work at nonprofit organizations.
Many nonprofit organizations involve helping people who are from underprivileged or disadvantaged communities, or in extremely difficult circumstances. Therefore, the work can be challenging and require a high amount of resilience.
The impact of the shortages
Staffing shortages have many negative consequences for both the nonprofit organization and the communities they are designed to serve. Waiting times for access to services are quite long, with some people being denied services altogether.
If you are involved in a nonprofit organization facing a workforce shortage, you may wonder what, if anything, you can do.
How you can act
Advocate on behalf of your clients to government agencies. Ask your clients what challenges they face when trying to access services and communicate these to your local government. Solutions cannot be found unless the problems are known.
You can also ask for cost-of-living adjustments when negotiating your contracts or grants. Prospective workers are no longer accepting positions that do not offer them a living wage.
Almost all nonprofits are feeling the effect of the workforce shortages. Knowing all your options and their impact is important.