Shamrock PeopleThis week, we embrace wishes for good luck as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Those of us who work in the nonprofit sector feel lucky beyond St. Patrick’s Day because of the many intangible rewards that come with our line of work. But, we also know, as the Roman philosopher Seneca is attributed with saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

As we have mentioned in previous blogs, talent is the great multiplier in the social sector. This means that talent is our greatest asset and can make or break our organizations. Right now, due to economic conditions, employers – for-profit and nonprofit – are struggling to find and keep great talent.

We encourage our clients and friends to start posting now for summer internships as well as other staff and board opportunities, and recommend organizations think deeply about their unique value proposition as employers and volunteer recruiters, especially to millennials and Gen Z. By doing so, these nonprofits will be luckier at attracting top talent for their organizations. To help get you started, here are some ideas from our very own Social TrendSpotters:


One of the most common reasons Social TrendSpotters say they feel lucky to work and volunteer in the nonprofit sector is because they relish the smiles they see on their clients’ faces when they make a difference. In fact, 55 percent of millennials would choose to work for a socially responsible company – even if the salary was less. To hear clients’ life stories and share their joy when things start looking up is a delight and privilege. As potential staff, interns and volunteers consider their options, the opportunity to create and witness individual as well as system change is a significant plus that not all jobs offer. Some of the most important stories your organization can tell are not only about clients, but also the hard-working staff and volunteers who help them overcome obstacles. When posting positions, leverage these gems and tap into that altruism in the job posting.


The ability to change people’s lives gives nonprofit employees a sense of meaning, which is an important value for the 21st-century worker. Social TrendSpotters say that careers in the nonprofit sector, as well as volunteer positions, make them feel like they are a part of a movement bigger than themselves, and this gives purpose to even the most menial tasks. Purpose is a key driver for many in the social sector and is something many outside the sector are searching for. Tapping into meaning and purpose can help you attract and retain employees and board members. Leverage this asset by giving job and board candidates a peek into your world when they interview – take them on a tour or let them see your organization in action.


In the social sector, we work with people in our communities who are encountering struggle, be it a health issue, loss of a job or the dream of an education that seems beyond reach. Social TrendSpotters say that having daily reminders from our clients and teammates of the struggles all humans face leads to gratitude for the security we enjoy, even in the face of adversity. Expressing this sentiment would likely resonate with job and board candidates who are looking for authenticity and feel empathy toward those in need. Leverage this by having “mission moments” at board and volunteer meetings or by highlighting client success stories within the organization to build a sense of gratitude for the work done.

We feel lucky to be part of the social sector and hope these tips will bring you a bit of extra luck in recruiting talent this year — we’d love to hear your thoughts on how you have prepared to meet the opportunity of hiring talent.

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