The Problem aka “the talent gap”
Between 1958 to 1968, the child poverty rate dropped from 27% to 14%. But the next 50 years were not so fruitful; that dramatic improvement not only stopped, but reversed, with 17% of children living in poverty by 2018. Nationwide scores on reading and math have remained essentially unchanged over the past two decades. The need to address challenges like education reform, climate change, public health, and civic engagement has become increasingly urgent, with few new initiatives or organizations emerging that can match the scale of the challenges. While about half of S&P 500 companies are expected to be replaced in the next 10 years, almost 90% of nonprofits bigger than $50M were founded before 1972. You heard that right – 1,155 of 1,299 large nonprofits are over 45 years old, and many of them employ decades-old programs and practices because innovation could disrupt their funding. For profit companies have an arsenal of top-talent and cash on hand to move quickly, but most nonprofits and social enterprises are fighting to draw enough talent and resources to survive.
The good news is that young adults are driven to spend their career focused on social change: 60% of graduating seniors report wanting to go into a social impact career. Social impact organizations are starved for talent, and talent is starving to make a difference. But the pipeline is broken. As a result, less than 20% of graduating seniors actually go into social impact jobs. This gap persists due to challenges surrounding the low pay, unappealing reputations, and limited career development in many nonprofits. It can also be attributed to an even more fundamental challenge: graduates have limited exposure to the potential of social impact careers. While a large corporation may easily spend $50,000 per recruit, 71% of nonprofits have no recruiting budget whatsoever. This resource discrepancy leads to many early-career professionals concluding that the only possible route is a traditional corporate career.
If we want to be serious about making social progress, we need to increase the monetary and human capital committed to it. While organizations like the Gates Foundation and MacArthur Foundation are focused on mobilizing more capital, Second Day is focused on recruiting our country’s brightest minds to commit their careers to taking on the most complex and intractable challenges of our time.