01 May 2024

Good digital talent has always been challenging to recruit for, irrespective of the sector. Yet, with the demands currently being placed on charities, attracting the right talent is more important than ever. 

What is just as important is securing the right candidate who will then stay in post and is truly committed to making a difference. 

Here at Stopgap, we’ve worked alongside charities for years to help them find the right candidates for digital roles. Growing digital skills across the sector is a big part of our mission, which is why we are so excited to partner with the Zoe Amar Digital team on this year’s Charity Digital Skills Report.   We advise charities to emphasise three things when they are recruiting, which we see as the sector's unique strengths. We would love to see more charities talking about these. 


Flexible working

Many charities were ahead of the curve with flexible working long before lockdown.

Not-for-profit clients can really help secure good digital talent through the flexibility they can offer candidates. They have led this effort even before the pandemic caused a new workplace revolution with hybrid and remote working. Flexibility is now the single biggest driver in determining whether or not a candidate decides to pursue an application. This doesn’t just refer to hybrid working but flexible working in all its forms. 

We have several clients that have allowed candidates to work and pursue gardening courses or their massage business by doing compressed hours. Not-for-profits aren’t generally in the office more than 2 days a week, and more often than not, it’s just one day which is enormously attractive to candidates who aren’t keen on a regular commute or don't live in London, meaning a long commute each time they come into the office. In a recent conversation with a well-known global charity, they told me that they had no mandated office days but did offer a weekly Wednesday breakfast to encourage attendance, more for cultural and social benefit than anything else, and had found that almost 65% of employees turned up on a regular basis. 

Other charities we advise have allowed candidates to work fully remotely in order to secure the best possible candidate for the role. We’ve found that candidates prioritise flexibility over salary when accepting a role. 


Being open-minded about sector experience 

We’ve found that charities are open to recruiting from all sectors. This is not always the case outside the sector. 

Whilst there are plenty of great candidates already working in the sector, charities sometimes ask us where there may be opportunities to spread the word about roles to the private sector. Attracting private sector candidates to not-for-profit roles isn’t always as challenging as you’d think.

Many private sector candidates are attracted by working for a cause, to give their work meaning and to contribute back to society in some way. This can mean that they are willing to take a reasonable salary reduction. It's also helped that mid—and senior-level digital salaries within the not-for-profit sector have become a little more competitive.

Not-for-profit clients can run into trouble because they perceive that they might not be commercial enough, their IT infrastructure might seem outdated, there is no funding for projects to be properly delivered, or the strategic direction isn’t clearly outlined. So it's really worthwhile for the charity hiring to have clarity on these issues so as to hire the best talent there is.  


Charities work hard to earn trust.

We have seen first-hand how much work charities put into building strong relationships with donors and supporters. We also know, from working alongside our charity clients for many years, that they are collaborative and take time to build close working relationships. This needs to be reinforced by the recruitment process. 

Having a focused job description is the starting point with which to set the scene, closely followed by a structured interview process, with time for questions and answers from both sides. Knowing what additional soft benefits are to the future employee is also a sometimes overlooked but important detail, preferably sent out with the JD at the initial briefing stage. 

By emphasising the three points above when recruiting, charities will be able to find talented digital candidates who share their passion for the causes they represent.


Discover how your charity can attract top digital talent by partnering with Stopgap.

Our experienced team will work closely with you to develop a compelling employer brand that showcases your organisation's unique strengths. From highlighting your flexible working arrangements to reaching candidates from diverse sectors, we'll help you build a recruitment strategy that resonates with today's job seekers.

Take the first step towards finding the passionate, skilled professionals your charity needs to thrive in the digital age. Contact Stopgap today to discuss your recruitment needs and learn more about our proven approach to connecting charities with exceptional talent.


Together, we can build a brighter future for your organisation and the causes you champion.

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