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The commercialisation of the NFP sector
08 February 2016
Prior to joining PageGroup, I had never worked or spoken with a charity before, except for those moments on the street where someone asked me for a donation. My background has always been in either corporate or well-established commercial environments and so, when I came to PageGroup and was introduced to the NFP sector, I was at first shocked to see what these organisations are able to achieve with limited resources and budgets.
Being a specialist recruitment consultant within this sector, I’m in a very lucky position to be able to speak with senior members of staff across various organisations and understand what their challenges are and the opportunities they currently face, or forecast. One of the biggest trends I’ve noticed is a growing commercialisation within the NFP sector.
So what does this actually mean? As the donor pool becomes smaller, and the options to give become larger, charities that used to work together towards a similar cause are now having to compete with each other to acquire and retain their donors. To achieve this there is a level of commercial sophistication that is required which, in many organisations, is a missing skillset. This could be digital, insights and analytics, strategic marketing, content development, just to name a few. There are also other influencing factors that are forcing change in the landscape. Australia Post has just raised the cost of stamps significantly, and it seems like there is a new charity community fundraising event each weekend – so how do you consistently achieve the desired outcome with a diminishing audience?
What does this mean to you? As there is a gap in skillset, traditional organisations that liked to hire from within the sector, are now challenging the way they work by looking from outside the sector. Commercially-minded marketers from a services background being one example.
So, from an organisational point of view, if you continue recruiting the same people, you’ll achieve the same results. But being open to change and considering outside talent is where true disruption can occur. Yes, it is a big change from corporate to NFP culture – the work balance, budgets and resources are very different – however, if these expectations are clearly set out from the beginning, the candidates who are unfazed can bring a great amount of invaluable commercial expertise, which doesn’t just have to be revenue focused. This can include driving high performing cultures, innovative thinking, agile mentalities and commercial tools.
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NFPs looking to attract external candidates have a wealth of positive points in their armoury. From the candidate perspective, it can be a big change from what they’re used to. The budgets and resources are definitely in most cases not as big. However, one of the most talked about pain points for candidates in their search for new jobs is job satisfaction and this is an area for NFPs to capitalise on. Along with this is the extremely real opportunity to impact positive change in an emerging sector and learn new skills. After all, isn’t that most people’s real reason to work?
If a job in the NFP sector appeals to you, click here to view our latest NFP jobs.