Nonprofit employer branding solutions to attract entry-level talent

Posted May 18, 2018 by


Nonprofit organizations have an enormous opportunity to polish their employer brands and really show them off to entry-level job candidates. To hear insight into employer branding mistakes and solutions at nonprofits, we interviewed Matt Kaiser, Director of Recruitment at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Kaiser has a passion for improving the recruitment processes, uncovering a unique employer brand identity, and implementing ideas to improve the candidate experience and attract top talent. He will be a speaker at SHRM 2018, presenting “Pursuing Purpose in Building Your Brand.”

Uncovering a distinct employer brand

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has a very strong employer brand. The most impactful portion of their brand is their mission: “to make kids better today and healthier tomorrow.” This positively affects the families and their communities. Therefore, according to Kaiser, a principle message of the employer brand is, “Join our organization and be able to really make an impact.”

Kaiser points out that the challenge has never been finding candidates who want to make an impact. In fact, they all do. He says, “The challenge instead is attracting the talent that most closely fits into the organization’s culture.” The way that Children’s is building onto their existing employer brand is by talking about the elements that make them unique.

The key selling points of your organization, says Kaiser, are ones that will set you apart from similar organizations. For example, when he is recruiting he makes sure to talk about Children’s plans for future growth. He tells candidates that “we have plans in the next five years to build a whole new campus and change the landscape of pediatrics at the Atlanta Hospital. There will be a new center for advanced pediatrics and new support buildings for all of our support staff.”

To attract more talent, Kaiser encourages employers to show how employees will be able to grow and how the company itself is growing. Also important are any awards your organization has received.  For example, when recruiting for roles at Children’s, he tells  them “We’ve been on Fortune Best Places to Work for 13 years in a row, a Best Place for working mothers, millennials, and diversity.”

Find what is unique about your employee benefits

Many companies talk about benefits, work life balance, or compensation. These things are good, but Kaiser says it doesn’t necessarily set you apart from other organizations. Employers need to uncover what is different about their benefits and promote that in your employer brand as a value proposition.

For example, Kaiser focuses a lot on Children’s wellness program, which prioritizes their employees’ physical and mental healthy. They have “Wellness Wednesdays,” where employees can come to work in workout gear as long as they promise to workout for at least 30 minutes that day (there is a gym on site). This is a fun excuse for employees to come to work casually dressed, while also an encouragement to stay active and healthy.

Also read: Attract students and grads with your wellness program, especially financial wellness

Another example of how Children’s sets their employer brand apart is by having “bring your pet to work day.” Pets provide for a more engaging and friendly atmosphere at the office, relieving stress.

Gen Z’ers want to work for organizations that make positive impacts

Generation Z is in college and will soon be entering the workforce. This generation is, generally speaking, driven to work for organizations that make a positive impact in the world.  Some organizations have noticed many changes with how current college students perceive their brand.

Kaiser has noticed that more students and young professionals are seeking to do work that is more than just something that gives them a paycheck. This shift serves nonprofits well, since making a positive impact is exactly their business.

It is incredibly important to give your employees the opportunity to make a difference, says Kaiser, whether they’re in human resources, finance, accounting, marketing, or whether they’re a nurse or a physician.

Common employer branding mistakes made by nonprofit organizations

The biggest mistake that nonprofits make is thinking that their brand and nonprofit status will sell itself. Kaiser explains, “While many people want to work for an organization that makes a difference, you also need to share some of those unique offerings and showcase your value proposition as an employer.”

The nonprofit status and the fact that you’re focused on giving back to the community is a strong point, but that’s not the only point. When you’re competing for talent, branding is what really helps propel the notion of what’s different, better, unique, and more compelling about your organization.

The biggest mistake that nonprofits make is thinking that their brand and nonprofit status will sell itself. Tips for nonprofits from @childrensatl in employer branding Click To Tweet

Uncover what key elements your organization can offer. It will ultimately help candidates make a decision on why they should choose you. “That’s the whole point of employer branding.” Kaiser says.

Kaiser points out that you should focus on different elements when talking with different audiences. “If we’re talking with the nurse, we talk about My Path, our learning and career path opportunities uniquely offered to nurses. When we talk with physicians, we talk about our collaborations with universities in the area or our research.”

Nonprofits should be sure to share key elements that make their organization attractive. They can’t just rely on their purpose to bring in all of the talent.

Get your employer brand to resonate without a large budget

Investing in building an employer brand may seem daunting to nonprofits on a tight budget. But many nonprofit recruiting teams are able to get their brand to resonate without spending a whole lot of money.

First, Kaiser encourages organizations to engage your leaders and employees to help you. Nurses know other nurses, physicians know other physicians. Kaiser says, “Make it a point to share with leaders and employees when there are job openings.”

If they go and share this information with their networks, it’s going to reach the right audience. Kaiser always encourages employee referrals. Similarly, he has employees fill out Glassdoor reviews, so when people are researching us they see positive comments. Finally, Kaiser makes sure to share jobs and content on social media. Those efforts are inexpensive and effective.

Kaiser says that at Children’s, they are “consistently posting jobs and content stories.” He finds that stories can be extremely powerful and really resonate with candidates. People like reading positive content about an organization. Share press releases and articles that paint your company in a good light.

Related: Storytelling can help employers compete for entry-level talent

Partnerships are also a great way to have both a positive impact and increase visibility without a big recruitment budget. For example, Children’s has established a partnership with Goodwill. “Goodwill has a strong candidate base for us when it comes to support services,” Kaiser states. They host monthly hiring events with Goodwill and it doesn’t cost Children’s a thing. Partnerships like this can be a win-win for everybody.

That there are many ways to expand your employer brand without having a large budget. Kaiser encourages other nonprofits to get their names out there by setting up tables at corporate events or by hosting webinars with different organizations. “Strengthen your brand, amplify your message, and get your message to the right audience.” You want your organization at the top of candidates’ minds. So, when they’re ready to make a move, they think about you first.

Matt KaiserAbout Matt Kaiser: Matt is an energetic Talent Acquisition professional with a passion for helping companies improve their recruitment processes, uncover their unique employer brand identity, implement ideas to improve the candidate experience and incorporate innovative sourcing and social media strategies to creatively attract top talent. Watch our full interview with Matt Kaiser at

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Posted in Advice for Employers, Awards and Recognition, Benefits, candidate experience, Communication, Employee engagement, Employers, Finding the Right Job, Gen Z, Leadership, Networking, Partnerships, recruitment, Recruitment marketing, Recruitment Strategies, References, Uncategorized, Workplace Culture | Tagged Tagged , , , , ,