Dear non-profits of Portland,

As a non-profit professional, I value what you do and align myself with your tenets and general practices. But as a non-profit professional who has been actively seeking a job for the last six months, I take offense. Not for the fact that you haven’t hired me, but in the manner you have treated me (and likely hundreds of others in this city).

Most people who apply for work at non-profits do so, at least in part, because they believe in what you do and what you stand for. They are willing to work for less … just to work with YOU. These are people who like you already, maybe even admire you. But when you treat job applicants like invisible nothings - by not responding to applications, by not following up in a timely fashion, by not replying to inquiries for feedback, or by not even announcing that a job is finally filled - you leave earnest, eager applicants hanging. You passively dis your established allies through your indifference and you degrade our ever-hopeful job search even more.

There’s no pattern to who treats people well and who does not. Resources don’t seem to matter. Small organizations with tiny annual budgets have treated me with generosity and respect, while multi-million-dollar organizations with lots of staff and resources have not (more the norm). Many organizations just don’t get back to us at all, even after we follow up, allowing us to assume your rejection rather than stating it clearly.

We need organizations to believe in and we need to believe it’s possible to be good, do good, and still do business. Please stop proving that you don’t stand for that. Treat people better. That’s supposed to be part of your agenda.