Announcing and Advertising Personnel Openings

Once you develop a position description, disseminate the description widely. In many cases, nonprofit organizations utilize informal networks to find candidates for a new position. While this is an effective strategy from the point of view of identifying candidates, unless such networks are diverse, they usually don't elicit a very diverse candidate pool.

To more effectively recruit people of color, organizations should identify individuals and organizations of color that would be willing to disseminate a job description to their own informal networks. One of the best dissemination strategies is to use an electronic position description and ask people to distribute it to their contacts via email.

People and organizations of color who can distribute job descriptions through their networks might be found via the following individuals and groups:

  • Current and former staff members.
  • Current and former board members.
  • Current and former volunteers.
  • Current and former clients or constituents.
  • Other organizations (consider asking them to establish a reciprocal relationship where you agree to disseminate their position descriptions as well).
  • Undergraduate and graduate schools.
  • Community groups.
  • Religious groups.
  • Immigrant aid groups.
  • Other groups with whom your organization already has a working relationship.
  • Organizations that provide leadership and/or job training to individuals of color.
  • Professional organizations.
  • Individuals known for broad community connections.

There are also more formal strategies to utilize to ensure a more diverse pool of candidates. To begin, it helps to learn a little about the demographics of the readers of local publications. Based on that information, develop an advertising strategy that will ensure that a diverse group of readers has the opportunity to see your position announcements.

For example, one Denver-based organization decided to stop using daily newspapers as its primary recruitment channel and now uses a combination of informal networks, web-based resources for the nonprofit community, and newspapers serving ethnic communities. The result of one search was that they received numerous résumés for the position from strong applicants of color, and six out of seven of the individuals interviewed were people of color; the person who ultimately filled the position was, not surprisingly, a person of color.

Once you have developed a promotion and advertising strategy that leads to a more diverse pool of candidates, be sure that everyone in the organization can benefit from what you've learned. Especially in mid-size organizations, recruitment is often done very informally and, without a human resources department, individual staff people, especially department directors, often independently recruit candidates for position openings within their respective departments. Try to streamline the process of promoting and advertising positions so that every department in the organization can take advantage of the methods that work to create a diverse candidate pool. This is too important a function to leave to chance.

Sometimes the best applicants already work at an organization, but management hasn't yet realized their potential. For this reason, it is important that all position announcements be posted internally. In addition to potentially uncovering excellent candidates of color, this practice will also send an important message to staff that the organization values their professional development and is committed to promoting from within. The importance of this practice will be discussed further in the section about retaining a diverse staff. 

Potential resource for recruitment: Commongood Careers is a national search firm for filling positions in nonprofit organizations. Diversity is a stated value.  


Overview: Personnel 

Benefits of Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Staff 

Costs of Unsuccessful Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Staff 

Setting Goals for Staff Composition 

Position Descriptions/Job Qualifications 

Interviewing and Selecting Candidates 

Retaining Personnel of Color 

Performance Reviews 

Professional Development 

Exit Interview Process  

Employment Policies