What Is Involved in NGO Recruitment?

Laura M. Sands

NGO recruitment may sometimes involve hiring an outside organization to locate and screen potential new non-governmental organization staff members. Due to financial limitations, however, a lot of NGOs simply advertise available positions in the same ways that for-profit companies do or many simply approach volunteers to determine if any have an interest in moving into a paid position. When NGO recruitment involves finding unpaid volunteers, many use media tools and awareness events to advertise a need for additional staff support.

NGOs may publish classifieds in local newspapers to find potential employees.
NGOs may publish classifieds in local newspapers to find potential employees.

Just as in many other business models, there are times when a non-governmental organization may experience a higher than normal turnover rate among employees. When searching for executive employees to work for high-profile civil society organizations, in particular, many independent organizations find it helpful to hire a professional recruiter to help solicit and screen potential staff members. As a result, certain recruiting firms specialize in NGO recruitment.

Recruitment managers at NGOs should place online ads on relevant job boards.
Recruitment managers at NGOs should place online ads on relevant job boards.

Hiring a third-party organization is not always feasible, nor is it always necessary in order to find suitable candidates for positions at non-governmental organizations. A good portion of NGOs, therefore, simply advertise available positions in the same way that for-profit companies do. Publishing classified ads in local newspapers, national not-for-profit newsletters and on Internet job sites is an NGO recruitment process that often attracts a significant number of qualified employees.

Volunteers offering their time to social organizations and other non-profit organizations are often prime candidates for NGO recruitment. As strong support for the organization’s mission has already been identified, as well as a volunteer’s work ethic and effectiveness on the job, many in charge of recruitment for organizations often approach unpaid staff first in the hopes of finding individuals who are interested and available for open positions. Understanding that this is an oft-used NGO recruitment process, many people deliberately volunteer to help certain organizations in the hopes of someday securing a permanent paid position with that organization.

When NGO recruitment targets volunteer staff, many organizations use traditional and new media tools to attract interested parties. These tools include television and radio advertisements, social media campaigns and publishing advertisements in various print publications. Special events aiming to raise awareness about a non-governmental organization’s cause is also a common tool used in NGO recruitment, as people who feel a connection to a cause are often motivated to lend support by way of a charitable contribution as well as by volunteering.

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