Executive Talent Search & Digital Marketing for Mission-Driven Organizations | Nonprofit Executive Hiring- DIY or Call in the Pros?

Nonprofit Executive Hiring- DIY or Call in the Pros?

Recruiting for a leadership position is never an easy task. It requires time, effort, and resources to find the right candidate who possesses the necessary skills and experience to excel in the job. When it comes to recruiting for the nonprofit sector, this task becomes even more challenging since it is difficult to find candidates with the right passion, dedication, and commitment to the organization’s mission. One question that often arises during this process is whether to recruit in-house or hire an external search firm. In this article, we will discuss some important factors to consider when making this decision.

1. Do you have an established, proactive candidate outreach process?

Executive positions typically require a proactive approach to recruitment, as executives are not likely to respond to job ads or recruitment calls. If you are using an in-house team, make sure they have a consistent outreach program that is always developing a pipeline of potential leadership hires. If this is not possible, a search firm will have the resources and expertise to maintain relationships with passive candidates and find the right fit for your opportunity when the time comes. If you are not happy with the strength and diversity of your original candidate pool, then that may be an indicator that you need a more robust outreach campaign.

When hiring an executive, it is important that the person that screens them has the business experience to gauge the candidate’s leadership capability as well as the gravitas to form the best first impression to hold the attention and desire of the candidate. You will want a senior recruiting team member to manage the process, or select a firm that specializes in just executive search.

Recruiting a leadership position is a time-consuming process that requires a significant amount of effort and dedication. The reputation of the organization is on the line during the recruitment process, and it is important to curate the interview process to ensure that candidates feel valued and appreciated. This requires timely communication and consistent follow-up.

If DEI is an important value for your organization, it is important to have clearly set recruitment policies and practices. In this case, it may be beneficial to talk to an external search firm or DEI consultant. They are likely to have established best practices on implementing an equitable recruitment process, and will also have a broader outreach to create a diverse pool of candidates that are exceptionally qualified for the position.

If you would like to fill the position quickly, an external search firm may be the best option. In-house recruitment processes can take longer due to competing priorities, limited resources, and a lack of proactive outreach. An external search firm can dedicate more time and resources to the search, and may already have a database of relevant candidates, resulting in a quicker hiring process.

The upfront cost of hiring an external search firm is often higher than recruiting in-house. Your organization will need the capacity to bear this cost. But even on a tight budget, many organizations choose to use an external search firm for executive positions because the cost of the position being open for an extended time, or worse hiring the wrong person, is much higher than the cost of using a firm.


In conclusion, the decision to recruit in-house or engage with an external search firm should be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific requirements of the role, timeline, and resources available. In many cases, especially when recruiting an executive position, engaging with an external search firm can provide access to a wider pool of candidates, specialized expertise, and a quicker hiring process.

About Us

Maneva Group is a woman and minority owned national executive search firm focusing on the social sector with expertise in completely managing the recruiting process, curating diverse and exceptionally qualified candidate pools, and advising C-suite executives and board members through crucial hiring decisions.

If you need assistance in hiring a leadership position for your organization, please reach out to me at sshah@ManevaGroup.com. We will schedule a no-cost, no obligation 30-minute consultation to discuss how to supercharge your recruitment efforts.

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