Disrupt & Innovate

Recruiting the CSO Employees of the Future

16th October 2018 by Annika Behrendt and Liora Jaffe

The work world is changing, younger workers are switching jobs more frequently and looking for more than just a pay check. Not only millennials are interested in holding meaningful, ethical and sustainable jobs rather than working in traditional positions (think: banking, finance and consulting).

For the third sector this is a huge opportunity for acquiring new, passionate talent, who are invested in social causes. Making sure the best and the brightest choose to work in the third sector is a key way of impacting the most pressing issues of society today. The challenge then is, how to recruit the right people.

For organizations in the third sector it is important to ask oneself, what kind of employees are we looking for? Yes, in some situations the long-term activist who is very familiar with your work, might be the best fit for the organization, but it is also worthwhile to consider non-traditional career paths. What added benefit might someone from the business sector bring to my organisation? Are there volunteers who are already involved with our organization who would be a great fit? In what positions would a for-profit defector bring new skills and ideas to our organization? Having a focused profile of the type of skills that fit to the organization can help open the door for out-of-the-box employees who bring huge added value, motivation and talent.

The next question once you have an ideal applicant in mind, is how to go about recruiting and attracting that kind of talent. Some positions may be easier to fill than others, as there is currently a large interest in the sector and lots of people applying to any given position. On the other hand, not all positions attract as many applicants. Job opening in fundraising or IT can be tricky to fill. In Germany, due to the lack of trained fundraisers, finding the right person for the job requires a particularly attractive job offer, and impact alone may not be enough. Meanwhile IT salaries in the for-profit sector are far higher than most non-profits can afford and attracting appropriate candidates can be a challenging process for organizations.

In cases like this, it is important to highlight the non-salary benefits the position offers, be it flexibility, the ability to work from home, a friendly office work culture, or team lunches. There may also be other more institutionalized benefits such as health insurance, maternity leave or extra vacation time that is worth mentioning as well. Most importantly make sure to include the societal benefits of the position, this may be your organizations biggest advantage over businesses with more resources but who may lack impact.

Engaging a new generation of bright, passionate employees is just the catalyst the third sector needs to create the systemic, sustainable impact for the future, it is worth finding the right employee to fit your cause.

Annika Behrendt

Senior Project Manager


Senior project manager at Talents4Good, first German recruitment agency specialized in jobs in the non-profit sector. With her background in social sciences and her interest in female career topics Annika recruits mostly for NGOs with a focus on positions in fundraising and campaigning.

Liora Jaffe

Jr. Project Manager


Liora Jaffe is a native Californian who moved to Berlin in 2013 after finishing her B.A. in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. After working for two years at the humanitarian aid organization, JDC (The Joint Distribution Committee), she began her masters at the University of Hamburg in Public and Nonprofit Studies. Liora currently works as a Jr. Project Manager for the HR and recruiting firm Talents4Good in Berlin.