Creating change on a global scale requires innovative talent with expertise and drive. A major U.S.-based nonprofit organization and international environmental advocacy group recognized this and knew it needed the right people to achieve its impactful goals.

On a fixed budget, the organization needed to find more specialized employees while maintaining quality of talent and keeping costs down. For this one-off recruitment project, the nonprofit chose a strategic Executive Search Outsourcing (ESO) partnership with Cielo rather than build out its internal TA team for such short-term demand. Cielo had it all: dedicated search experts, program management, management information, and more.

A bespoke search strategy for niche roles
To meet expansion goals, the organization needed to hire more than 100 new associates specializing in law, policy and research in just 12 months – a much larger scale than usual. The lack of in-house TA expertise paired with filling these niche roles made it challenging to meet these recruiting targets.

Committed to delivering tangible results fast, Cielo initially focused on building out a dedicated team. This team consisted of a client services manager and three search consultants – all working exclusively with the nonprofit throughout the project and supported by Cielo’s centralized research function.

To underpin a more ordered approach to the talent acquisition process, Cielo built a systemized program tracking document that recorded and showcased all hiring activity. This approach improved efficiency, allowing the team to monitor and incrementally enhance processes over time while remaining agile in response to evolving business demands.

Hiring 120 new associates in 1 year
The Cielo team provided ongoing program management and management information, maintaining transparency with the organization the entire time.

Without an established internal TA infrastructure, the nonprofit went to market under the Cielo brand and owned technology infrastructure integrated with its existing applicant tracking system. This approach made an immediate impact: allowing search operations to go live within a matter of weeks, not months, to enhance the organization’s TA capabilities.

Launching in November 2021, the partnership between the organization and Cielo successfully led hiring for all planned roles – amounting to 120 associates.

Reducing time-to-offer by more than 90 days 
Unique challenges call for creative solutions. Cielo’s team determined that many of the top candidates would be unlikely to respond to traditional advertising, severely limiting the viable talent pool. To overcome this, they built a profile of the roles for which advertising was unlikely to lead to engagement, then implemented targeted search strategies for those roles.

The nonprofit is a versatile, policy-focused organization, and most of the senior roles require proactive, research-led sourcing. The research team focused on market mapping and outreach while the search consultants managed candidate assessment, shortlist presentation, and offer management.

Cielo chose to broadly map a range of organizations with specializations in target areas such as conservation, emission reduction, and scientific research. This contrasted with a more traditional RPO approach, reflecting the highly tailored nature of the work.

This system contributed to the organization’s time-to-offer falling from 150+ days to under 60 days, proving its successful executive search partnership with Cielo.

Saving over $1 million in 12 months
Cielo’s impact on the hiring process was rapid and significant. In total, Cielo saved the nonprofit over $1 million in the first 12 months of the partnership compared with using third-party search firms with huge ongoing improvements to efficiency and hiring outcomes.

Within six months, the organization extended the scope and length of its Executive Search Outsourcing partnership. Now, the nonprofit will have Cielo’s support in identifying the top specialized talent it needs worldwide to achieve its vision.