Why Your Nonprofit Should Consider a Graduate
Investing in a Graduate with For Purpose
The Irish nonprofit sector provides crucial work to our social system. Since the pandemic, the sector faces many challenges and added stresses. Therefore, in order to respond to these challenges, building further capacity within the sector is necessary. Considering recruiting a graduate may be of particular benefit to your organisation and the future of the nonprofit sector.
Recruiting graduate students could have a transformative impact on the nonprofit sector, enhancing innovation through new ideas, energies, and perspectives, and building strategic capacity and insight through specialist skills.
Many private companies have developed graduate programmes. However, certain nonprofit organisations do not have the resources to recruit, train and support their own graduates. We wanted to provide a solution to this problem. The For Purpose Graduate Programme was then established in 2012.
About For Purpose
For Purpose is Ireland’s Nonprofit Graduate Programme. For Purpose provides nonprofit organisations with access to a pool of ambitious graduates, striving to make an impact on society. The For Purpose programme is unique, as our graduates gain access to peer- to- peer networking, learning seminars and support throughout the programme. We develop our graduates’ potential and aid career development, helping them to become the best employee for your organisation.
For Purpose has three strands. We offer paid placement for your graduate, a monthly external mentor and professional development and learning. We assist your organisation with all three aspects and support your graduate throughout their placement.
Why should my organisation consider a graduate?
Graduates provide a unique benefit to your organisation through their skills, ways of working and perspectives. For Purpose asked a sample of their employer partners about the value of recruiting graduates and what they can bring to an organisation.
Some particular benefits noted was the access to:
- Specialised and relevant skills
- Current information and education
- New or cutting-edge knowledge
- Relevant disciplinary expertise
- Academic knowledge which translates to work skills
- Research capability: recent experience of doing research, analysis, data management, report writing
- IT skills and social media savvy
- New ideas and perspectives
- Openness in ways of working – no hangs up or preconceived ideas about set ways or systems for doing things
- Diverse ways of thinking
- Approach to work: scientific method and good organisational skills
- Social skills working with graduates
- Communication and presentation skills which are valuable and necessary when out front representing organisations
- Values and commitment to social justice matters
By investing in a current graduate with these specific skills, you will not only provide value to your current team, but also provide a greater impact on the future of the nonprofit sector.
Why partner with For Purpose?
For Purpose assists nonprofits in attracting graduate talent in numerous ways. We liaise with our partner organisations to learn what works with the programme. We ask our partners how the balance of work will suit the employer and the graduate.
For Purpose asked employers about the value of collaborating with For Purpose. Employers noted how the support For Purpose provided with the recruitment process saved time, as For Purpose screened the candidates and selected on the basis of skillsets and interests. Our partners were pleased with the calibre of candidate recruited, and the contribution the graduates made to their teams.
Employers particularly valued the external mentor and access to support, guidance and expertise, which is not available within their own organisation. A key dimension of the programme is the ongoing professional development provided through learning seminars, with access to peers in other organisations.
Previous employees describe For Purpose Graduate Programme
Colette Nolan, CEO, Irish Advocacy Network:
“We are a small organisation, all about providing a quality service. Funding has been static, so we needed to take a more active role in fundraising and looking at our presence in the media. It is necessary to create an awareness of who you are for people to trust you with their money. We didn’t have much knowledge or experience of this area.
We went to a graduate fair in the RDS and realised that people make professions out of these areas, and it would be possible to recruit a graduate to work with us. For Purpose provided a one stop shop helping to develop the role and job description, advertise, and interview. An organisation like ours couldn’t provide anything like the mentoring support that they support the graduate and the organisation. Therefore, this was of value to a small organisation, particularly bringing a completely new role into the organisation.”
Stephen Lowry, Fundraising and Development Manager, Epilepsy Ireland:
“We recently engaged the For Purpose team to run and manage a recruitment campaign to fill a newly available graduate position within our team. From our very first meeting with the team at For Purpose, they made the process incredibly easy. Having simply given them a broad overview of the role itself and the general competencies we were seeking from prospective candidates, from there the For Purpose team took complete responsibility for every stage of the process including drafting the job specification, advertising the role, screening applications as well as preparing us for the final stage interviews.
At the interviews themselves, the real value of For Purpose became apparent as each of the shortlisted candidates they had invited for interview were nothing short of exceptional. While this made the decision around which candidate to select an extremely tough choice for us (which perhaps was the only hard part of the whole experience) this was not a bad complaint to have. We were delighted with the entire process and could not recommend the services of For Purpose more highly.”
Support Your Graduate Investment
We have developed a support document to justify the investment to your board, if you’re interested in investing in a graduate and want to make a business case. For details, contact Rhonda Wynne or for more information on our services, visit our website.