Knowledge & Insight

Challenging times for the charities sector

Tue 1 July 2014

The charities sector has undergone enormous change since the financial crash of 2007. Some charities have ceased to exist, many have suffered  severe cuts in the support they receive from government, and all face a squeeze on fundraising from a British public suffering real pressure on disposable incomes. And that’s not all. New technologies and social media platforms have changed the way the world communicates, presenting an ongoing challenge for organisations that seek to engage more effectively with their members and the wider public.

Sharing of commercial best-practice

These challenges have certainly not gone unnoticed, and there is broad awareness at a senior level that things must change if the sector is to survive. Charity executives recognise that greater collaboration both within the sector and across other industries is a must. Non-for-profit organisations must adopt and embrace commercial and operational best-practice, and the best way to do that is to recruit commercially-aware candidates from the private sector.

Recruiting the best talent, wherever it may be

Recruiting high-calibre private sector talent has traditionally been a struggle for many charities, and in today’s uncertain economic climate there is little to suggest that things have changed. Yet that hasn’t stopped a growing number of third sector HR directors from setting their sights on leading talent within private companies. Charity executives recognise the value that these individuals can bring to their organisations, not only in terms of delivering operational effectiveness, but also in terms of aiding positive cultural change. To engage effectively with these candidates, charities are increasingly turning to specialist charity headhunters.

Promoting the third-sector brand

One of the main challenges in recruiting private sector talent lies in managing candidate’s perceptions. Many executives and senior professionals in the private sector perceive the third-sector as offering a less-challenging environment and being less competitive in terms of pay. The challenge for recruiters therefore is to communicate with potential candidates to ensure they fully understand the exciting opportunities, benefits and challenges offered by the charity sector.

Looking to the future

It may be true that the charities that exist today have weathered the worst of the storm. Yet there’s no doubt there are many more challenges to come. In a frenzied, media-dominated world , it’s easy for members to become disengaged. The continual emergence of new technologies makes setting a long-term communications strategy virtually impossible, and increased economic instability makes financial planning uncertain at best. Yet these are the issues that all private sector companies have been wrestling with for some time. So recruiting people who have already taken on and overcome many of these challenges can be a great boost to the charity sector.

Charity executive search

Charity executive recruitment poses some unique challenges, so recruitment firms working with charities require a detailed understanding of the non-for-profit sector, together with a proven track-record of recruiting leading talent from across the private sector. Stone Executive is an experienced charity executive search firm with a team of seasoned charity headhunters. Our deep insight into the sector and our vast professional network across diverse industries means we are ideally-placed to identify, engage and attract talented individuals with the right mix of skills and experience, wherever they may be.

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