How is Covid19 Impacting Staffing and Recruitment in the Not for Profit Sector?

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Last month we created a Covid-19 Staffing & Recruitment Survey in collaboration with Charities Institute Ireland (Cii) and we are pleased to report that 47 charities of varying size and purpose responded. We hope you will take a moment to read over our findings as we believe they can provide you with useful insights into the best path forward in terms of staff engagement and recruitment in the months ahead


Firstly, respondents reported that the Covid19 wage subsidy scheme helped many organisations through the initial shock of the pandemic, with 47% of those surveyed availing of the scheme. As we know, many businesses around the country have had to resort to laying off staff due to the loss of income so we are pleased to report 85% of our respondents have been able to retain all of their staff, with 8.5% having to implement temporary redundancies and 6% requiring permanent redundancies. Whilst it is encouraging to see that the majority of organisations surveyed were able to maintain pre-Covid staffing levels, this has for many come at the cost of hours or salary cuts; with 15% reporting the need to introduce 20% pay cuts whilst maintaining the same level of work output and others mentioning the need to reduce hours by between 20% and 40% based on a reduction in workload (this was largely concentrated in events and community fundraising roles). Although these wage cuts and reduced hours are not something any industry wants to implement it is important to note that many of these decisions were necessitated to maintain sustainable work for employees and the implementation of such policies are ultimately preferable to closures or redundancies.


We have all had to adapt to changed work practices – prior to the pandemic the majority of us could not see ourselves being able to maintain our work output outside of the office environment. However, the survey results show that the charity sector has been able to pivot into a new daily routine; with 83% of charities noting that they would continue to allow their staff work remotely post lockdown. CCI was pleased to see this result as we often have interest in roles from high caliber candidates outside of the major cities who are seeking remote and flexible working arrangements. When much of the conversation surrounding Covid19’s impact on employment has been negative, it is important to highlight the positive outcomes; charities are learning that a traditional office environment is no longer essential for all workers. This is particularly important when it comes to the new reality and that many employees will be balancing family life and work commitments to a greater extent as Ireland navigates its way into a changed future.


Of course there are many roles that operate less effectively on a remote basis and the office environment will still have a key role to play for these groups. The sector had made strides in catering for a more flexible work schedule prior to Covid19, but many were nervous to implement the change; with concern over reduced productivity when staff were given a degree of flexibility holding some back. Prior to Covid 19 lockdown, 47% of respondents had a flexible work policy in place, and these organisations saw no reduction in productivity. Lockdown forced other charities to implement a more flexible work ethos given the requirements to work from home 38% of the remaining respondents noted increased staff productivity during the pandemic. The remaining 15% noticed an overall decrease in staff productivity, with many noting that certain roles are less easily transferred to a home environment and that while some individual staff struggled with the transition, most transitioned well. These statistics are welcome news to CCI and we would encourage those who have not done so yet to look into creating a flexible work policy, where possible, as it can help you secure the best candidates in future recruitment campaigns and helps boost employee productivity as confidence comes with a little more control of their time.




Specific areas that have been negatively impacted by Covid19 


As the yellow graph above shows; fundraising departments have been majorly impacted by the pandemic. In what has been a hugely challenging time for many, maintaining productivity and adapting to new ways of delivering services will require diversifying employee skills. We have seen an increase of recruitment of staff with strong digital skills, and whilst there are specific roles that may require new recruitment campaigns, such as sourcing experienced digital marketers or IT specialists, many of our respondents mentioned that they are using the extra time their staff may have to repurpose their employees’ roles and are helping them to learn new digital skills. The ability to diversify your staff is imperative in order to regain income streams that have been lost. We noted that some organisations are moving away from traditional community fundraising and increasing their emphasis on grant applications, corporate fundraising, and digital campaigns. The not for profit sector, now more than ever, needs to focus on modernising their fundraising strategies and supporting fundraisers with a proven track record of innovation.


For some, a recruitment freeze has been put in place due to the reduction of funds. With organisations noting that their ability to recruit in the future is strongly linked to their fundraising department’s success. However, the responses showed us that 58% of organisations have been using recruitment to diversify employee roles during the pandemic (the specific areas of recruitment can be seen in the gree graph above).


Over 38% of respondents postponed or canceled recruitment plans due to the pandemic. However, looking forward, many organisations have plans to recruit in the latter part of this year; with 57.5% stating that they plan to recruit in quarters 3 and 4 of 2020.


At CCI we have been working on online recruitment strategies and have successfully completed processes for charities recruiting at all levels for all types of roles. We are encouraged to see that almost 70% believe that online candidate screening, shortlisting and interviewing can play a useful part in their recruitment processes. Whilst shifting your recruitment strategies online may seem a daunting experience, we are here to help and advise.


If after reading this,  you have any questions regarding online recruitment or what strategies would best suit your organisation we would love to hear from you. Call us on 01 5242807 or email us at

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