Small Charities and Recruitment

What is recruitment?

When small charities begin, it’s likely that everything is done by trustees and other volunteers. But in time, if your charity grows, you could be in a position to take on paid members of staff. Hiring the right person or people, who share your charity’s values and vision, can make a significant contribution to the impact your organisation has and the outcomes you can deliver.

Recruitment refers to the process of: 

  • understanding the work you want to be done 
  • setting a realistic budget 
  • creating a role profile, job description and/or person specification 
  • contracts of employment 
  • advertising and using your communication channels to attract applicants 
  • shortlisting 
  • assessments and interviews 
  • offering the role to the successful applicant 
  • taking up references 
  • communicating with unsuccessful applicants 


Why it matters 

Recruitment is the first step to becoming an employer. It involves thinking about your organisation’s needs and aspirations as well as making sure you follow the law and treat people fairly throughout.  

It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness with your community, and more widely, about your cause, your mission, the values you hold and the work you do. It’s a chance to tell your story. 

If you already have one or more members of staff, it’s still important to understand and adopt best practice, so that when you need to bring in new members of staff you can do so with confidence in your processes and approach. 

Recruitment also gives you the chance to think about how your charity measures up on equality/equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). By thinking about how you develop a role, where you look for applicants and how you run a recruitment process, you may be able to implement changes that increase inclusivity and enable you to benefit from a more diverse pool of applicants, and bring in more diversity to your organisation. 


Who needs to know 

If you are thinking about your first member of staff, then your trustees will be responsible for drawing up your plans and procedures.  

If you already have members of staff, then some or all of this work will be the responsibility of the chief executive or overall manager of your organisation.  

If you are recruiting for a specific project or piece of work, then some of the recruitment work may be undertaken by the project manager, with support from the chief executive. 

Your finance manager or director of finance will need to be involved because recruitment for a new or existing role involves making a financial commitment. You will need to find the funding not only for the base salary but also for additional costs including employers’ national insurance and pension contributions. You may also need to factor in the cost of IT, space to work or support for remote working, and time from other members of staff to support the new starter. If you pay per head for any software or platform licenses, or for online support for HR, payroll or similar, then these costs will also increase. 


Where next? 

Attracting and retaining staff during a recession 

Supporting employees during the cost of living crisis