STUDY: Nonprofit Organizations Are Rebounding From Recession

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Nonprofit HR today announced the results of its seventh annual Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, which this year indicates that the nonprofit sector has seen a marked improvement in staffing levels since the recession. According to the survey, more organizations have expanded their staff in 2013, and fewer plan to eliminate positions in 2014 in comparison to 2009 survey results. This reinforces the nonprofit sector's economic viability and potential to create a significant number of jobs in the year ahead.

(Photo: )

(Photo: )

To view the infographic related to this survey, please visit this link:

Key Findings from the 2014 survey include:

Significant increase in hiring new staff

  • 45 percent of nonprofits surveyed for this year's study reported that their staff size had increased in 2013.
    • In 2009, at the height of the recession, only 19.3 percent of nonprofits reported their staff size had increased from the previous year.
  • 45 percent of nonprofits indicated that they plan to create new positions in 2014.
    • In 2009, 41.6 percent of nonprofits intended to create new positions in the year ahead.

Reduction in plans to eliminate positions and implement hiring freezes

  • Only 7 percent of those who responded to this year's survey indicated that they plan to eliminate positions in the year ahead.
    • In 2009, 21.6 percent of nonprofits intended to eliminate positions.
  • Only 5 percent of nonprofits indicated that they plan to freeze hiring in 2014.

Anticipated job growth across all employment areas

  • The percentage of organizations anticipating job growth in 2014 increased in every employment area, from community outreach to finance and administration.
  • The largest areas of anticipated growth for 2014 are direct services (42 percent), program management/support (40 percent) and fundraising/development (36 percent).

While this data points to a rebound within the nonprofit sector specifically, the impact also extends to the larger economy. With the increase in nonprofit job creation, these organizations are contributing to the rebound of the economy in general by lowering overall unemployment rates.

Opportunities for upward mobility and professional growth are available within the sector for individuals at all levels. Entry-level vacancies were most often filled by people just entering the workforce (52 percent) and by people from outside of the nonprofit sector (22 percent). Mid-level vacancies were most often filled by people from other nonprofit organizations (48 percent) and people promoted from within (37 percent). Experienced and senior/executive vacancies were reported as being most commonly filled by professionals from other nonprofit organizations (56 percent and 59 percent, respectively).

Nonprofits are using online resources to recruit qualified job candidates in increasing numbers. 60 percent utilize LinkedIn, the most popular online recruitment sources among nonprofits, followed by Craigslist (55 percent), (47 percent), (43 percent) and Facebook (42 percent).

The issue of diversity is top-of-mind for many nonprofits, especially in light of recent national and global discussions regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights. Despite the importance and benefits of diversity to most nonprofits, less than half (36 percent) of survey respondents reported that they have a formal workforce diversity strategy, and 14 percent cited diversity as being the biggest employment challenge at their organizations. The greatest diversity challenges that organizations face include: retaining staff under 30 (32 percent), balancing ethnic/cultural diversity (26 percent), having the staff reflect the composition of the community served (22 percent) and balancing gender diversity (19 percent).

"There is a stereotypical view of the organization that it is 'an old (white) boys' network that is completely out of date but hard to overcome. Our CEO is a woman!" said one survey respondent. "The organization is very open to candidates representing diverse age, ethnic and sexual orientation categories, and we ensure that positions are not segregated by gender stereotyping. However, until we increase the participation of members who represent diverse categories, I think we will continue to have difficulty attracting staff who reflect them."

For more information and full survey results, please visit

The national Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey has been conducted by Nonprofit HR on an annual basis since 2007. The report surveys 413 nonprofits nationwide in order to provide a snapshot of current employment practices, economic trends and their implications on the nonprofit sector. Research addresses nonprofit staffing, recruitment and retention practices, including information on staff size, projected growth, recruitment strategies, budgeting and staffing challenges.

Nonprofit HR is the country's only human resources firm that works exclusively with nonprofit organizations. The company provides human resources consulting and talent acquisition services, and also produces an annual study on nonprofit employment trends. Nonprofit HR has offices in Washington D.C. and Chicago.

Lara Miller

Read more news from Nonprofit HR.


View Comments (0)