4 Top Nonprofit Job Trends In 2021

Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado

Content Writer

The job market for nonprofits is heating up again and it might mean that 2022 is the year to shake things up in your career. Four clear job trends in the nonprofit field signify major changes coming next year and it might be worth paying attention to see if a change is in the cards for you. 

The “Great Resignation” is a recently coined phrase that describes the phenomenon of nearly four million Americans leaving their jobs per month in 2021 in the wake of the pandemic to reevaluate their careers and lifestyle priorities, preferring jobs that add meaning to their lives and greater flexibility like working remotely. 

But don’t just take our word for it. Check out this quote from a recent NonProfit Pro article: “The Great Resignation offers one of the greatest recruiting opportunities — if not the greatest — in recent history. Nonprofit leadership across the country should be chomping at the bit to attract motivated, purpose-driven candidates among the millions searching to hit the reset button on their careers in search of a more meaningful path.”

The nonprofit industry stands to gain the most from this trend and the most proactive ones are already gearing up for the typical hiring binge that happens at the beginning of a calendar year when new budgets kick in. 

Here are the four top nonprofit job trends we’re seeing as we close out 2021:

1. After A Significant Dip At The Start Of COVID, Nonprofit Jobs Are Increasing

We have some good news: nonprofit jobs are on the rise!

More than half of the estimated 2 million+ nonprofit jobs lost during the beginning of the pandemic have been recovered and we are on pace to return to pre-pandemic levels of employment over the next 18 months, according to the Nonprofit Times. Some sectors are recovering faster than others but they’re all growing, which means tons of new positions are opening up. 

Arts and entertainment has the longest road to full job recovery at 18.3 months, followed by religious, grant-making, civic, and professional nonprofits at 13.4 months; and health care at 13.2 months, the article cited. Three subsectors are on pace to recover within 10 months: Educational services, 9.8 months; other fields, 8.2, and social assistance, 8.1 months.

Ready to explore more jobs in the nonprofit sector? Check out the Nonprofit Job Board.

2. Nonprofits Have 5x More Remote Work Opportunities, With Increasing Hybrid Options

It may come as no surprise that long-term remote work opportunities are one of the biggest nonprofit job trends in 2021.

If you’re looking for more flexibility and remote work, it’s never been better for you in the job market. The pandemic greatly accelerated trends of remote work situations because it forced change on nearly all companies who had to adjust to allow employees to do any work that could be done remotely from the safety of their homes. 

Fears of lost productivity due to remote arrangements were largely proven to be unfounded and a McKinsey report on COVID trends in the industry estimated that 20 to 25 percent of the workforces in advanced economies could work from home between three and five days a week. 

“This represents four to five times more remote work than before the pandemic and could prompt a large change in the geography of work, as individuals and companies shift out of large cities into suburbs and small cities,” the report noted. 

The advantages of cost savings for office space is a huge incentive for nonprofits in particular that try and make every dollar count. The McKinsey report noted that a survey of 278 executives found that most planned to reduce office space by about 30 percent as they looked to fully remote or hybrid arrangements post-pandemic. 

So given that the entire nonprofit industry is trending toward remote work, you can get creative in your job search as you’re no longer as constrained by geography as you once were. Employers are increasingly noting “remote” work arrangements in job postings, which allows you to search nationally (or internationally if you speak a little French and want to do graphic design for a French nonprofit) for any job that interests you. 

Video interviews are now the norm even though they were practically unheard of pre-COVID and chances are you’ll lock up your next offer from the comfort of your home office. In short, if you’re seeking a fully remote or hybrid arrangement for your next career move, you’ve never had more bargaining power than you do now. 

3. Workers Who Are Tech-Aavvy And Demonstrate Adaptation Will Fare Best

The pandemic forced every nonprofit to dive into online everything more heavily than they had before and the trend is here to stay.

Skills in the sector that are most currently in demand include essential health and medical care experience, tech support, database administration, online fundraising and marketing professionals, according to a Foundation List report on nonprofit hiring trends. 

Because the bulk of operations are going online, the most competitive candidates will have a solid understanding of online marketing tools, project management, web design, blogging, social media and online fundraising platforms (like CauseVox!), the report noted.

Given that online events will become the norm for many nonprofits going forward, it makes sense that one of the top nonprofit job trends relies on development and marketing professionals who demonstrated the most adaptation and success during the pandemic when they were able to meet or exceed the performance of the typical in-person events with virtual events at a fraction of the cost.

4. Employers Are Stepping Up Their Efforts To Attract And Retain Talent Post-Pandemic

One of the top nonprofit job trends is that we can expect employers to equip employees to succeed remotely.

According to Gartner, a business trends research and advisory company, remote working arrangements will jump from 30% to 48% and companies are already starting to evaluate how they can best equip employees to work from home, adjust the customer experience to account for the shift, and change evaluation procedures to adapt to new remote work arrangements. 

We are coming out of an emotionally and physically taxing pandemic and the best nonprofits will also prioritize their employees’ financial, physical and mental well-being with enhanced sick leave, financial assistance, flexible hours and child care provisions. Pre-pandemic, the sight of a curious kid or barking dog wandering into a video call would be heart-stopping for a remote worker. Nowadays, we all pause to ooh and aah over the interruption and congratulate each other over the best Zoom backgrounds. 

If you’re interviewing for a remote position, be sure to ask if you’ll have the right technology and supplies you’ll need to be successful. And you’ll also want to clarify any employer expectations about necessary job-related travel and desires to have you in the office from time-to-time. Does remote mean fully remote? Better find out!

And office culture matters, of course, so you may want to ask to speak to other potential colleagues about how the company culture has shifted due to the pandemic and what opportunities there are to connect with colleagues outside of business meetings. Getting to know your colleagues is much more challenging without happy hours, coffee excursions and team lunches but the most savvy nonprofits are finding fun ways to make sure employees stay engaged and connected.

So Are You Ready To Hop On The Nonprofit Job Trend And Take A Fully Remote Position?

The pandemic has shown people that they can make their job work for them rather than the other way around and if you haven’t started thinking about how to make that happen and what you can gain from doing so, you’re missing out. Look around at your friend group and you probably know a few people who took advantage of remote working by moving back home or moving in with a partner to save money on rent.

Many people fled expensive cities and put down roots in smaller communities that allowed them to get bigger places with designated office space, backyards and less stress. The social life takes a hit, of course, but the pandemic allowed people to try out new arrangements (foster a pet, anyone?) that added to their lives in positive ways. 

Remote work arrangements were a dream come true for introverts and even extroverts found their groove when they realized they could juggle their lives more effectively with remote work that gave them extra time that was spent in commutes and put more money in their wallets by preparing meals at home instead of a week of $12 salads.

You’ll recall that your social media feeds were flooded with stories about new hobbies taken up during the pandemic because people simply had more time at home and needed things to do. 

To make it easy for you to find the right remote nonprofit job for you, just be sure you filter out in-person positions and explore remote positions.


Ready To Get Your Next Nonprofit Job Or Is Your Nonprofit Hiring?

Check out the *new* CauseVox Nonprofit Job Board — it’s free to post and explore hundreds of jobs throughout the U.S. that are searchable by location, job titles, industry, keywords, and commitment (full-time, part-time, remote, freelance, internship), among other categories.

Plus, you can sign up for the weekly nonprofit job newsletter to stay on top of your search.

Good luck in your search!

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