Cross-post: Are Search Firms Doing Their Best to Practice Racially-Equitable Nonprofit Searches?

  • By Yolanda Caldera-Durant, September 3, 2019

This post originally appeared on the Fund the People’s website. To read the complete post, please visit Fund the People’s Blog.

Today’s nonprofit workforce is being pushed to evolve the talent that’s traditionally been tapped to lead and staff nonprofits. Professionals of color are more frequently being sought after to take on executive leadership and management roles. Despite this trend, nonprofits continue to have leaders that are primarily white despite this push for change. We still have a long way to go. However, many professionals of color have made clear that they want to take on top nonprofit leadership and management roles. Nonprofits report struggling to identify qualified people of color to take on these important positions. Search firms that are tasked with sourcing racially and ethnically diverse talent must work on building more racially and ethnically diverse professional networks.

One dynamic that I’ve personally experienced is being asked by search firms to tap my professional networks that are racially and ethnically diverse. When I first started receiving these requests I thought that it was commendable that the search firms were reaching out to me, a Latinx professional with deep experience and knowledge of the nonprofit and philanthropic fields, and a racially and ethnically diverse network. However, over time I’ve started to feel like I’m doing the search firms’ job for them, identifying professionals of color for important opportunities. But it isn’t clear whether the firms are putting these individuals forward as serious candidates or whether their nonprofit clients are actually hiring these candidates.

My questions are: What is the role of search firms in expanding their networks of professionals of color to apply for the increasing number of leadership and management roles that are becoming available? Should search firms provide some form of compensation to nonprofit professionals who they are asking to find qualified candidates?

Head over to the Fund the People’s Blog to continue reading.