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Posted by Nancy Huckaba and Hal Wallach on Thu, Oct 28, 2021 @ 12:02 PM


Candidates for non-profit leadership roles often have for-profit or commercial backgrounds, and the reality is that non-profits are often unable to match the salaries they received in those roles. However, recent studies indicate that, among top talent, salary isn’t always the most important factor in a total rewards package.

Elements to Attracting Non-Profit Leadership

The following are elements that non-profits should consider incorporating into their offers to win the war for talent with for-profit businesses.

Flexible Schedules & Remote Work Arrangements

Offering flexible schedules and remote work options has become critical to attracting and retaining highly qualified employees. The pandemic has spurred this trend by proving that a remote or hybrid work environment can be productive, garnering the same if not better results than working on site or in a traditional office environment.

Leadership & Training Programs

Employees value and appreciate the opportunity to become the best in their fields. Even where there’s not a clear path for advancement, more and more non-profits have begun offering professional development and training opportunities, which boosts employee morale and engagement. Further, specialized leadership and development programs are an effective way to help professionals meet the unique challenges of the non-profit sector.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)

Organizations across the U.S. are looking more closely at implementing strong diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Equally, DE&I is becoming increasingly important for job seekers as they assess the organizations where they are considering working. However, historically, there’s been a shortage of diversity in leadership roles at non-profits. Non-profits must be diligent in resolving these imbalances to stay competitive for top talent.

Reinforce the Mission

Non-profits must reinforce the concept that while salaries must be attractive, they do not have to match those of for-profits as best-fit candidates are purpose driven. This is especially important to note as the new generation of non-profit leaders is increasingly mission driven. Non-profits must communicate their sense of pride in their meaningful work clearly during the entire recruitment process.

Communicate Total Rewards

Employees are regularly reminded of their salary via paystubs, but what is most beneficial to maximize your investment in your people (your largest expense) and ensure high employee engagement is communicating their total rewards, comprised not only of compensation and benefits but also the employee experience.

We're Here to Help Your Non-Profit Attract the Right Leaders

To see the full list of strategies for securing top-tier talent in the non-profit sector, download The Non-Profit's Guide to Attracting & Retaining Mission-Driven Leaders or contact us.


Sign up for our upcoming webinar on Attracting, Motivating & Retaining Top Leadership in Non-Profits.

Nancy HuckabaNancy Huckaba is the Vice President, Practice Leader of EFL Associates leading the non-profit and for-purpose search practice in Kansas City. She can be reached at 816.945.5400 or


Hal-1Hal Wallach is the Director and Leader of CBIZ Talent & Compensation's Executive Compensation Consulting practice. He can be reached at 314.692.5819 or



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Tags: non-for-profit, Non-profits, competing for talent, nonprofit, Nonprofit Board, leadership, Not-for-profit leadership, talent aquisition, how-to, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, diversity, equity, inclusion

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