Idea for how to hire new talent
Talent Published Date, 2023

A Tech Opportunity For Nonprofits: Realistically Competing For Talent

Created By: Jessica Shatzel and Rebecca Voulgarakis
March 7, 2023

Over the past year, the technology sector has been in the midst of a major upheaval. In recent months, there have been mass layoffs and resignations at a wide range of large tech companies, including Amazon, Meta (Facebook, Instagram), and Twitter.  Tech companies laid off at least 160,000 workers in 2022, according to, a site that tracks job losses in the industry. And the hits keep on coming with more than 100,000 additional people losing their tech jobs during the first few weeks of 2023.

These layoffs have been attributed to a mixture of factors, including the economy, inflation, higher interest rates, and large tech companies looking to reduce their costs by laying off high-salaried workers. Over-hiring in response to the increase in the use of technology and online services during the pandemic has also been cited as a driver in the rising number of tech layoffs.

“Tech companies went on a hiring spree in late 2020 through 2021 as people increasingly turned to technology to work, shop and socialize. The Fed’s easy monetary policy also enabled tech companies to raise capital and invest in growth,” Roger Lee, the creator of, told Nerdwallet.

“Both of these trends have sharply reversed in 2022. Faced with a slowdown in growth and a downturn in the broader economy, tech companies are cutting staff after realizing they over-hired in recent years.”

These layoffs are also eroding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in the tech sector. Recent studies have found that the tech industry is one of the least diverse. In 2021, just 4.4 percent of employees at Google were Black and 6.4 percent were Latino. The issue with neutral or mass layoffs directly correlates with the lack of diversity in higher-level positions. Many of the “expendable” roles are often held by people of color and women. Because of this, tech layoffs disproportionately affect individuals from marginalized communities.

“The news about the massive layoffs in tech was painful,” said Ahva Sadeghi, Co-Founder and CEO of tech company Symba in San Francisco. “Unfortunately, we are seeing a major setback for DEI amid budget cuts, layoffs, and hiring freezes.”

A tech opportunity nonprofits can leverage

The good news for nonprofits is that tech layoffs—and the tens of thousands of skilled and experienced tech workers entering the job market—have led to an environment where nonprofits can realistically compete for talent with extensive backgrounds and training in technology. Nonprofits, as well as the public sector, are increasingly becoming a real option for tech talent who may now be skeptical of working for big tech companies. 

So what can nonprofits offer to attract tech workers accustomed to sky-high salaries and the types of perks that make headlines? How can nonprofit organizations tap into the growing and rich talent pool of laid-off techies?

  • Offer stability – Because nonprofits are used to often doing more with less, nonprofit organizations can offer a different type of stability. Tech workers should see working in the nonprofit sector as a space where they are unlikely to lose their jobs due to the economy, a change in organizational leadership, or other things beyond their control. Nonprofit organizations pivot quickly, fundraise well, and understand the importance of technology when it comes to driving their mission forward.
  • Invite them to lead technology decision-making – Nonprofits can also offer tech workers an opportunity to play a key role in the expansion of an organization’s technology footprint. This might include overseeing the development of a new set of products and platforms, giving new tech hires more autonomy and decision-making power.
  • Leverage your organization’s mission and impact – Tech workers who are looking for a different type of workplace might find the mission-driven purpose of nonprofits very appealing. Many of them may see it as a vehicle through which they can fulfill a desire to make a positive impact on society and their community.
  • Offer a more inclusive workplace experience – The nonprofit sector’s emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion has resulted in major strides and organizational changes, but more needs to be done. These tech hiring opportunities should be another motivator to encourage your organization to be thoughtful and intentional about your DEI efforts. Workers from underrepresented communities and backgrounds should feel welcomed in a workplace culture that prioritizes fairness and the full participation of those who have been historically subject to discrimination.

As big tech companies continue to jettison top talent, nonprofits should be poised and ready to take advantage of the opportunity to identify and recruit unemployed workers who can fill essential organizational needs and help your organization effectively use technology to scale and grow.

Orr Group offers a range of Talent services to help your nonprofit attract and retain great people. Get in touch to learn more.

Jessica Shatzel is a Director and Head of Talent at Orr Group, specializing in executive search, recruitment, and a variety of human resources support for our clients.

Rebecca Voulgarakis is an Associate Director on the Talent team at Orr Group. She supports Orr Group’s outsourced recruitment efforts, delivering peace of mind and identifying top talent for our nonprofit clients.

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