How To Handle Hiring And Delegation At A Nonprofit

Like any company, your organizations’ success depends on finding qualified, dedicated staff and keeping them happy. Yet, most NPOs start small. Subsequently, they don’t have the luxury of an HR team or senior leadership to guide them along the way. That’s why many NPO CEOs end up doing everything by themselves. In this episode of the Strategic Nonprofit Podcast, host Trista sits down with Jamie Van Cuyk, CEO and Lead Strategist of Growing Your Team. Listen in as they discuss the intricacies of attracting, hiring and delegating staff to continue to grow and scale up your NPO. Even when CEOs and Directors decide it’s time to hand over the reins and leave.

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How to hire…

1. Replacement CEOs & Directors

Suppose you’re looking to hire a replacement to fulfil your role as CEO or your place on the Board of Directors. Jamie suggests the first thing you need to think about is why you are stepping out of the role you’re in today.

For most, it’s that they don’t have the time anymore. They want to focus on something else. Once you start figuring out why you’re stepping back from that role, it will allow you to decide who needs to take over the position.

Many people out there want to lead non-profit organizations. They have a connection to your mission. But, that doesn’t mean they’re suitable to lead your organization.

So it’s time to step back and figure out why you’re vacating the position and what that next leader needs to look like. For example, maybe they need the same strengths or a new skill set you currently lack. Regardless, this process of reflection allows you to focus on finding the right person instead of filling the position with someone who isn’t going to be what the organization needs.

2. Nonprofit staff

Hiring for nonprofits, in many ways, is like hiring for-profits. You’re going to post a position on your website, pass it to your network and post it on job boards. As a result, hiring is also a lot like marketing. You could have the best marketing message in the world. But, if you don’t put it in front of the right people, it doesn’t matter.

It’s the same with your job posting. Luckily, most nonprofits connect to a more extensive network of people that support the organization. Jamie suggests always sharing your openings with volunteer donors and putting them out on social media. Someone following you may have a real passion for the organization could also have the skillsets to help your NPO grow.

Don’t be afraid to bring people on board because you’re thinking of the cost. Instead, think of the ROI it’s going to have. Even when it comes to the roles in your organization that aren’t tied to revenue, always consider, “what impact will hiring for this position have?”

How to effectively delegate (and let go!)

Nonprofits are an all-hands-on environment with people just doing what needs to get done. However, as the founder, or leader of the organization, you’re probably taking on a lot of that responsibility yourself. Discover Jamie’s 3 tips to help you get comfortable with delegating to staff:

1. Identify your personal capacity & delegate specific tasks

If you try to do everything yourself, there’s always something that’s going to be sacrificed.

Jamie Van Cuyk

You must remember that you only have so much capacity. If you try to do everything yourself, there’s always something that will be sacrificed so you can focus on something else. And those things that you’re sacrificing, still need to get done. So you have to remember it’s not that you shouldn’t be doing anything or you’re not capable of doing those specific tasks. Maybe you don’t have the time and you’re not the best person now to focus on it. So you need to delegate because it’s right for your organization.

2. View delegation positively

Many people feel this need to do everything and not always ask for help, but as Jamie suggests, maybe it’s time to flip the script on it. It’s time to stand back and look at your organization to realize you’ve grown your organization to the point where you no longer can do it all because there’s too much to get done!

You are serving many people and have a lot of people supporting you. You’re increasing that revenue flow, which means you’re able to do more. If your organization can do more, you need more hands to help serve the people you’re trying to serve.

Overall, think of delegation as a positive thing when it needs to get done because you’re doing what is best for your organization when you’re at your capacity.

3. Don’t hand over everything on day one

Delegation is about working up to where you feel comfortable, and it’s making sure you train the person who will be taking over tasks properly. The best process for delegation is starting with a stair-step approach to training because sometimes people don’t always understand the full training at first. Not because they’re not capable of understanding it, but the first time they’re learning everything new, it’s a lot of information.

Take it one step at a time, one position at a time.

Jamie Van Cuyk

As a result, sometimes they don’t realize what they’re missing, so by using a star step approach, you show them what they missed and why it matters. Eventually, you’ll be able to stand back and focus on something else within the organization that also matters.

Developing nonprofit staff

As mentioned earlier, when you try to do everything yourself, it doesn’t work, and you have to learn to let go and delegate specific tasks. That’s why when it comes to developing your nonprofit staff, you want to make sure that they are effective and they’re achieving expectations. To do so, Jamie suggests nonprofit leaders figure out what is stopping their organization from being at its most optimal and hire for those positions.

Paying your team members

Don’t be afraid to bring people on because you’re worried about the cost. Instead, consider the ROI it will have even when it comes to the roles in your organization that don’t link to revenue.

For most nonprofits, a big part of their mission is to be able to serve more people. So yes, there is a cost, but the price is worth it.


Every dollar has to go towards the program. Remember that paying your staff is still money for those programs. They’re people that are helping to get those programs out there. So don’t be afraid to spend the money you have on people who will grow your organization and help support your mission.

More about Jamie Van Cuyk

Jamie Van Cuyk is the owner and lead strategist of Growing Your Team and is an expert in hiring and onboarding teams within small businesses.

Drawing from over 15 years of leadership experience, Jamie teaches her clients how to hire their early team members, including employees and long-term contractors. By learning the dynamics of each company and their specific needs, she helps them find their perfect-fit, long-lasting team members and avoid the hiring and firing cycle.

Connect with Jamie

  • LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/jamievancuyk
  • Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GrowingYourTeam/
  • Instagram https://www.instagram.com/growingyourteam/
  • Website https://growingyourteam.com
  • Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1FlGRvQlq1dI5ODz7fFClA

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