Study: Nonprofits Nationwide Prioritize Hiring Diverse Talent for 2019

Nonprofit HR today announced the results of its third annual Nonprofit Talent Management Priorities Survey, which this year indicates the nonprofit sector is continuing to focus on attracting and hiring diverse talent. According to the survey, 39 percent of nonprofits indicated that their priorities for talent acquisition will focus on diversifying their workforce in the areas of race, age, gender, identity and differing abilities. This figure is up eight percent since 2018, and down four percent since 2017. Survey-takers ranked strengthening internal capacity around interviewing skills at 30 percent and strengthening employer brands at 27 percent. 488 organizations across the United States participated in the survey, making it the largest sampling size in the survey’s three-year history. To view an infographic of 2019 Nonprofit Talent Management Priorities survey top results, visit

“The days of homogenous workplaces are in the process of ending. Nonprofits that continue to focus on diversity and inclusion as a key part of their recruitment strategies will experience a competitive edge in attracting top talent.” said Lisa Brown Alexander,
CEO for Nonprofit HR.

Additional Top Findings from the 2019 Talent Management Categories Include:

Culture and Engagement Priorities
+ 33 percent will focus on improving organizational culture, which includes reducing conflict, dysfunction and miscommunication.

What changed?
+ Organizations ranked improving organizational culture at 34 percent in 2017 and 2018.

Why this matters?
Organizational culture will continue to be one of the leading indicators of the most impactful nonprofits and those that fail to prioritize having healthy workplace cultures will operate at a disadvantage programm 202.785.2060

Performance Management Priorities
+ 46 percent focusing on improving performance management will prioritize training and development initiatives related to strengthening managers’ skillsets around giving and receiving feedback.

What changed?
+ Organizations ranked implementing training and development initiatives as their leading priority at 32 percent in 2018 and restructuring existing performance management systems at 40 percent in 2017.

Why this matters?
More and more of the American workforce and, by extension, the nonprofit workforce will come to expect and demand more feedback regularly (vs. annual performance reviews). Those leaders who have the skills to effectively deliver this feedback on an ongoing basis will be the ones who will be better able to retain and engage their staff.

Learning and Development Priorities
+ 29 percent will focus on expanding investments in developing and strengthening teams.

What changed?
+ Organizations ranked expanding investments and developing and strengthening teams at 18 percent in 2018, and they ranked developing a learning and development strategy at 37 percent in 2017.

Why this matters?
More organizations are moving away from hierarchical structures and implementing teams. Developing skills in leading and understanding team dynamics are essential to the effective performance of those teams.

Total Rewards (Compensation and Benefits) Priorities
+ 24 percent will focus on expanding their benefits program offerings and investments in 2019.

What changed?
+ Organizations ranked expanding their benefits programs and offerings at 19 percent in 2018 and 17 percent in 2017.

Why this matters?
This increased focus on expanding benefits offerings and investments is a good indicator of the value nonprofits place in employee benefits and the role that total rewards packages plays in talent acquisition, engagement and retention.

Talent Analytics/Metrics Priorities
+ 35 percent will focus on benchmarking existing HR talent metrics.

What changed?
+ Organizations ranked benchmarking existing HR / talent metrics at 24 percent in 2018 and 38 percent in 2017.

Why this matters?
Nonprofits are realizing the increasing importance of benchmarking talent metrics to make the case for further investments in talent. Nonprofits with strong talent management strategies measure the outcomes and impact of those programs and use them to advance their organizations’ broader missions.

Talent-Focused Technology Priorities + 37 percent will focus on increasing the use of talent acquisition technology, specifically through applicant tracking systems.

Nonprofit HR rolled out the 2019 the survey findings during a closed webinar in January 2019. The webinar has now been made public and may be downloaded at



The 2019 Nonprofit Talent Priorities Survey was conducted by Nonprofit HR, the nation’s leading talent management firm that works exclusively with the social sector. The survey asked nonprofit professionals (primarily nonprofit leaders and HR professionals) to rank 202.785.2060 their most pressing talent priorities in seven key areas. While more options were offered, the report highlights only the responses that were selected as organizations’ top priorities in each category. Respondents represent 38 states and a variety of budget levels, ranging from less than $1M to more than $40M. The most well-represented areas of mission focus include social/human services, education and health.

Nonprofit HR partners with nonprofits and mission-driven organizations on project-based human resources consulting, HR outsourcing, talent acquisition, executive search, and knowledge & insights, all with the objective of making the nonprofit workforce the best it can be. Since 2000, Nonprofit HR has amplified the impact of the world’s most influential
mission-driven organizations. A list of client and mission types may be seen here.

Nonprofit HR

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