Request a Demo Search

3 Takeaways from the 2017 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey

Topics -

See How Bloomerang Can Have a Bigger Impact on Your Mission!

Schedule a Demo

So many thoughts jumped to life as I perused the 2017 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey results. This report, which has been produced annually by Nonprofit HR since 2007, includes responses from 420 nonprofits in the U.S. and Canada.

The survey results contained in the report reflect below-passing-grades in almost every key category.

Here are the key findings that should serve as a wake up call to a fairly large percentage of nonprofit executive leaders:

1. 67% of Nonprofits Have No Talent Acquisition Strategy or Don’t Know if They Do

As a board member and/or major donor to numerous nonprofits the above stated percentage both surprises and scares me!

Should not talent acquisition be part of every strategic plan?

Obviously, a detailed roadmap for talent acquisition may be too much to be fully included in most strategic plans. However, nonprofit organizations where top talent is mission-critical or where talent is being added at a rapid pace than such a road map may need to be included.

For more talent acquisition tips, check out 5 Steps to Successful Nonprofit Staff Hiring (please feel free to adapt and add to your strategic plan if needed).

2. 81% of Nonprofits Have No Employee Retention Strategy or Plan in Place

This stat should not surprise given that that most nonprofits don’t have a talent acquisition strategy.

Since the nonprofit sector seldom can compensate or provide benefits at the same level as the commercial sector, having an employee retention strategy is every bit as important as the talent acquisition strategy. After all, a strong retention strategy means that acquiring talent is needed less often!

Most small and medium-sized nonprofits do not have HR departments or not even a dedicated HR professional on staff, meaning the talent acquisition retention strategy falls to the CEO or ED of the organization.

81% is a shocking figure when you consider the impact talent retention has on delivering and funding your charity’s mission.

However, such a plan can be developed with proper research and effort. A strong starting point for talent retention is having every employee knowing they are part of a well-run nonprofit. Pride is a huge retention factor!

3. Only 52% of Nonprofits Have a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy/Program

When you consider all of the diverse needs and peoples that nonprofits serve, this stat is almost indefensible. It’s not a stretch at all to assume that a lack of diversity impacts talent acquisition and retention (it certainly can in the for-profit sector).

For nonprofits, it all starts with the board.

Unfortunately, BoardSource just released its report on board diversity, and as Vu Le states in his excellent article 7 things you can do to improve the sad, pathetic state of board diversity, “the statistics are frustrating, disappointing, and somewhat anger-inducing.”

To tackle this issue, consider starting at the top.

Don’t Sleep On Succession Planning

This final key strategy ties back into the 2017 HR Survey, but is not an actual result.

If incoming talent and current employees do not witness and understand the charity’s leadership succession planning strategy both recruiting and retaining suffer. A strong set of succession plans breeds trust and confidence!


Now you have three key strategies to consider to aid in most organization’s top two HR related problems: Talent Acquisition and Employee Retention. With proper planning and execution your organization can rise above the horrible statistics of this report.

Please use the examples and step-by-step outlines as just that for your charity’s strategic plan.

Best of luck in these vital endeavors!

Stay Together - How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty

Discover How to Maximize the Lifetime Value of Your Donor Database!

Get Your Free Copy

Related Articles


  • Lisa Brown Alexander

    Thanks so much for sharing our 2017 Employment Practices survey results! We appreciate you helping us get the word out about the status of hiring practices in the nonprofit sector!
Leave a reply