HR and Organizational Influence: The Opportunity to Attract New Talent

This post was authored by Steering Committee member Ryan Ginard. Ryan works for The San Diego Foundation, where he builds capacity for the Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement through the Civic Leadership Fund. In a recent survey of 260 nonprofits, nearly half of the human resource executive staff reported an increase in their overall organizational influence – predominantly through more recognition by top-level executives that HR plays an integral role in executing an organizations mission. This represents a big opportunity for nonprofits and both public and private foundations to increase their capacity, be more impactful and achieve their goals through the identification and development of talented staff. As the interpretation of social justice moves away from its previous connotation of transferring wealth to one of building social infrastructure to help all members of society reach their potential, we are also seeing a parallel shift from purely program-based philanthropy to a campaign-like approach where engaging and building nontraditional constituencies and developing cross sector partnerships are the key to delivering tangible outcomes to those they seek to serve. The study, which was undertaken by the consultancy Nonprofit HR, reveals a renewed acknowledgement of HR’s role in achieving organizational success and on further reflection, its ability to equip organizations with new talent that will be able to adapt to the rapidly changing philanthropic sector. Nonprofit_HR_Infographic But where does HR find and how does it attract this new generation of nonprofit game changers? The great news is you don’t have to look that far because there are literally hundreds of them working in your communities on a seasonal basis. But who are they? Community organizers and political field staff are well-versed in the importance of metrics with a strong sense of what the end goal is. These emerging leaders also work tirelessly around the clock on cause-based issues, are large in number and are readily available (especially post-campaign). They are well-connected, hardworking and a jack of all trades. Their challenge, however, is that they are masters of none and that’s wherein the problem lies. How do we help nonprofit organizations identify these transferrable skills via the application process and ultimately look outside the box to take a risk on them? While HR plays a significant role, those currently working for nonprofits or active in their communities need to play a complimentary role of matchmaker. Suggesting positions to your networks and broadcasting opportunities for new positions within the sector far and wide are sure fire ways to help modernize (and diversify) philanthropy and attract the most talented applicants. So where do you start? EPIP San Diego has identified three specialized nonprofit job boards to help you on your way; 1. San Diego ( – NP Works is a resource for nonprofit job opportunities in San Diego run by Nonprofit Management Solutions. 2. Idealist ( – Idealist is a nonprofit database that connects people, organizations, ideas, and resources. They recently hired two San Diego Community Managers with a view of increasing their visibility and impact locally. 3. San Diego Grantmakers ( - Periodically disseminate information about their members' job opportunities across a range of mediums. Local chapters of national young professional’s networks also have their fingers on the proverbial ‘pulse’. Becoming a member of EPIP and YNPN San Diego (Young Nonprofit Professionals Network) will also provide you with a good source of insider knowledge on job opportunities and not-to-be-missed events across the region. At the end of the day, we here at EPIP encourage those in the nonprofit sector to take calculated risks in their recruitment processes because at the end of the day it’s a simple equation. People who can motivate people to vote and donate in support of critical community issues can replicate this process (with a little fine tuning) to turn supporters into donors and community volunteers into civic leaders.