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NYN Nonprofit OpCon: “Best Practices for Hiring at Your Nonprofit”


Diana Gallardo, J.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Kiwi Partners Head of HR Services discusses best practices for hiring at nonprofits at nonprofit OpCon

Diana Gallardo-Laska, J.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Kiwi Partners’ Head of HR Services, recently participated in NYN Nonprofit OpCon’s panel discussion "Best Practices for Hiring at your Nonprofit". Here are key takeaways from the panel discussion:

  • Ensure your salary is competitive: Know your salary benchmark for your industry and compensation map. If your organization cannot offer a higher salary than competitors, offer to match with benefits such as remote work, extra paid time off, paid health benefits, and learning and development opportunities.

  • Source candidates from various avenues: Utilize different platforms such as social media, job websites like Indeed and LinkedIn, and professional networks to attract a diverse talent pool. Consider candidates’ lived experiences in addition to their academic background.

  • Highlight DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility): Incorporate DEIA initiatives into recruitment strategies by using real data, sharing success stories, and emphasizing the value of diverse perspectives. For example, you can share a success story with candidates about how diverse groups participate in decision-making at their organization and how key this is to organizational culture. Ensure that recruitment practices and materials are inclusive and accessible to all individuals, regardless of disabilities or diverse backgrounds. Consider whether the governing body at your organization represents who your organization is serving.

  • Leverage employee referrals: Engaged employees aligned with your organization’s mission can help bring in potential candidates. Implement a tiered referral bonus system to encourage and reward successful referrals. E.g., a bonus upon hire and another bonus after 90 days.

  • Consider the gig economy: Explore platforms to create an on-call list and offer flexible shifts to fill in employment gaps quickly.

  • Understand different types of recruiters: Differentiate between retained and contingent recruiters. Retained recruiters are paid regardless of the hire and can focus on finding quality candidates. They typically spend more time vetting candidates, forming long-term partnerships, cultivating an understanding of company culture, and could be a good match when searching for executive talent. Retained recruiters involve higher upfront costs and potentially longer search processes. In contrast, contingent recruiters are paid upon successful placement and focus on quickly finding candidates. Contingent recruiters may be more cost-efficient and have access to a broader candidate pool. However, the cons of contingent recruiters encompass a potential compromise in candidate quality due to the focus on quick placements.

  • Create a culture of belonging at your workplace: Recognize that talent also assesses your organization’s culture and staff retention. Foster an employee experience that matches your organization’s core values. Effectively communicate your organization's offerings, benefits, values, and work culture through various channels, including recruitment materials, interview discussions, and your website.

  • Measure impact: Use data and key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the effectiveness of recruitment strategies and make informed decisions. Use technology platforms to measure KPIs such as employee experience. Standardizing HR processes is crucial, and providing comprehensive training to teams on leveraging technology for maximum impact is important. Whatever tools are available to for-profit companies are equally accessible to nonprofits, and they should take full advantage of these resources.

If your nonprofit needs recruiting, HR processes, or technology assistance, please contact Kiwi Partners’ HR services.


The panel was moderated by Damaris Herron-Watkins, Director of Finance and Administration, A Better Chance. Panelists included Diana Gallardo, Kiwi Partners’ Head of HR Services, Eman Rimawi-Doster, Executive Director, Harlem Independent Living Center, Nancy D. Miller, Executive Director/CEO, VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Angelo Caliente from Paylocity, and Sonya Llewellyn, Director of Human Resources, 501© Services.


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