Many Americans remain unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic — at least 9.8 million at the end of April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that’s expected to change quickly as employers ramp up hiring activities. If your not-for-profit will soon need new staffers, you might want to start putting out feelers now.
Obviously, the decision to hire is a difficult one considering the economic uncertainty that may remain. But you also don’t want to miss out on the best talent. Here are some issues to consider.
First off, do you need new employees? Even if you plan to expand services and introduce new programs, volunteers may be capable of picking up the slack. Or current staffers may be underused on projects that are stagnating or winding down. Carefully examine your nonprofit’s priorities and consider eliminating programs that aren’t meeting expectations so that you can redeploy human resources where you need them most.
If staffers have been working from home, you may want to call them back to the office (with any necessary safety protocols) before making the decision to hire. It’s possible some won’t want to return to in-person work. On the other hand, you may find you have enough hands once everyone’s back on site.
The pandemic took a financial toll on most nonprofits. Others, however, have actually experienced outpourings of support. Whatever your situation, ensure you can fit any new staffers into your budget.
Even if you can, the fact remains that nonprofits are obligated to be careful financial stewards. Donors, watchdog groups and the media demand it. So consider how you’ll make the most of any new staffing budget before you spend it.
Remember that when you hire full-time employees, the expense isn’t limited to salaries or hourly wages — you’ll also be paying for benefits. In many cases, it’s cheaper to outsource functions, particularly accounting, IT and human resources work.
Outsourcing offers the additional benefit of being temporary if you aren’t happy with the service. Underperforming employees are much harder to let go.
Making the decision
The decision to hire is likely to be one of your organization’s toughest calls this year. Employees are expensive. And probably the last thing you want to do anytime soon is lay off people due to a social or economic crisis. Contact our nonprofit team. We can review your financials and help you decide how to proceed.