A few months ago, the Chronicle of Philanthropy published an article where college students talked about how nonprofits can attract young talent. The answers were depressingly predictable:
- We have to make them feel that leadership roles are possible. Sure. I agree. But lately, as more and more boomers are retiring, I’m finding that many organizations are turning to the very young to lead them. Many of these 20-somethings would, some day, be fantastic leaders. But that day is not today. And worse, they have no mentors in their organizations—organizations that have few staff at all—to help them learn important stuff. Like, what they don’t know they don’t know
- Increase pay scale, was a biggie—and hear! Hear! The poverty mentality that plagues too many nonprofits has to go. We need to stop thinking that we MUST do more with less, or that being a nonprofit means you cannot make a profit, pay reasonable salaries, have necessary staff.
- Being understaffed was another concern of these students. I understand. It’s a big concern of mine. The student quoted was very inward looking—and wasn’t interested in working someplace where she would have to take on many roles with one title and one salary. That’s understandable. What worries me more is a larger picture—the fact that everyone is doing so many different things, nothing gets done. As a consultant, the hardest part of my job is my calendar. That’s because my clients are all over the place and can’t commit to meetings, keep to schedules, be where they agreed to be.
- Internships and fellowships as ways to get the students involved, learn new skills and learn about the sector were of interest to several of the students. See the bullet above to get an idea why this is an underutilized suggestion!
- Finally, one of the students wanted Senior Nonprofit leaders to embrace change. As the inventor Charles Kettering noted, “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought process.” Nonprofit leaders do need to learn that lesson