Each month, I like to research what causes are celebrated. For April, two of the celebrations that jumped out at me are “Stress Awareness Month” and “Celebrate Diversity Month”. I believe every person is experiencing some form (or many) of stress and typically a nonprofit is missioned around relieving a stressor for one or more groups. These groups can frequently be marginalized populations or groups we focus on when addressing diversity. As such, I think it is important for there to be a dialog around this, specifically as it relates to who we are as nonprofit professionals.
Our organizations do brilliant, life-changing work, the true impact of which can only be felt through the stories of its people. For example, the organizations that provide basic needs services are literally saving lives. Providing food, shelter, education, and medical care for people who otherwise may not be able to get it is monumental. Quite honestly, the true impact is impossible to measure because it affects not just the person receiving services, but everyone they are involved with both currently and in the future.
To remove the stress of worrying about having a safe place to live or where your next meal will come from is amazing. The organizations that provide counseling or job training are enabling their members to grow and sustain themselves and their basic needs – again, a transcendent outcome that touches so many.
That said, we need to be able to think about this and really apply the awe-inspiring impact to building our teams. First, we need to share these stories, not just for funders, but for everyone, and perhaps most importantly, to attract people to join our organizations. After all, people are the only way the work gets done and they enable us to achieve our missions.
The way we market our organizations is so critical. People want to be attached to something positive and to make a difference. Job seekers want to hear from potential employers about the difference they can make and why it is important that they make it. As such, we need to ensure we are leveraging our work, our outcomes, and our successes as a tool for attracting talent. Sharing our message and how it positively moves our communities forward and helps the people who need it most is extremely powerful. This appeals to people at their core, and I firmly believe that although we may have different ideas on how or what it looks like, everyone wants to do good and leave a legacy that matters. And let’s not forget, that when people are working with passion, their work is exponentially better than when they don’t care.
We also need to remember that being unemployed, or under-employed is a huge stressor that affects marginalized communities more than communities of privilege. To that end, how are we hiring so that these communities can be not just represented in our membership, but on our teams? Do we have a system in place so that all people have equal access? Is our hiring process creating stress for our applicants or potential applicants? Is it turning them away? If the hiring process is stressful, all that is indicative of is a stressful work environment, which not attract people. We need to remember, that there is no greater advocate for our organizations than the people we help. This presents the question: how many of the people we help are being hired after they have benefitted from our services? How many of us are looking at our hiring process through the lens of the diverse people we want to attract?
To summarize, as we think about what we do, always remember to share and celebrate the amazing achievements of our organizations. These are the stories job seekers want to hear. These are the stories that will build your brand and help to attract the job seekers that believe in the mission of your organization. Additionally, let’s also embrace how we reduce stress for the people that really need our services, as well as the people who want to ensure our mission is achieved. And yes, April is the month that celebrates this nationally, but we should be celebrating it daily!
The above content is provided by our friends at Weiser Innovations. Weiser provides talent acquisition services to 501(c) Services’ 3,000 nonprofit members.