Nonprofits hiring from outside sector

Most nonprofits over the past five years hired executives from outside the nonprofit world, a new study says.

Among over 500 U.S. nonprofits surveyed by The Alexander Group, a search firm, 60.6 percent hired executives from outside the sector, says the 2012 Survey of Hiring Trends at nonprofits.

Among nonprofits that hired outside the sector, 84.2 percent said their new executives adjusted extremely well to the nonprofit world

And among nonprofits that hired outside the sector and whose executives adjusted extremely well to the nonprofit world, 52.6 percent reported only minor issues in adjusting to the nonprofit environment, while 31.6 percent reported no issues in adjusting.

Still, hiring executives were split evenly on whether candidates’ lack of previous nonprofit experience was a factor in their hiring decision.

“The survey confirms our belief that the boundaries between for-profit and not-for-profit continues to blur and opportunities to move between sectors will continue to increase,” Jane Howze, manager director of The Alexander Group, says in a statement.

Nonprofit hiring executives also placed heavy emphasis on candidates’ experience in working with boards of directors, and on compensation, experience as a nonprofit’s public face, and managerial experience, the study says.

It also says 56.7 percent of nonprofits surveyed hired a chief development officer during the last five years, and 45 percent hired a chief financial officer or chief marketing officer, or both.

“While fundraising has always been critical to the survival of not-for-profits,” Howze says, “the challenging economy created an even more competitive fundraising environment, further highlighting the need for organizations to recruit strong development professionals.”