The Human Capital Deficit in the Islamic Non-Profit Sector

The Human Capital Deficit in the Islamic Non-Profit Sector

Why do Islamic nonprofit organizations struggle to attract and retain professional talent? This paper explores several forces driving the problem and provides recommendations addressing the sector’s human capital deficit.

Principally, two “myths of scarcity” limit human capital. One myth is that Islamic nonprofits do not have the financial resources to attract and retain talent. In fact, they do – but they choose to invest in physical assets rather than in human capital. Another myth is that not enough qualified professionals are interested in the sector. In fact, many are – but choose not to pursue it because of a perceived lack of professionalism.

To help address its human capital deficit, we suggest that the Islamic nonprofit sector:

  • Conduct regular audits of the organization’s professionalism
  • Adjust the allocation of funds between physical assets and human capital
  • Frame staff positions as entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Share physical resources between organizations.
  • Develop regional staff positions jointly funded by multiple organizations
  • Centrally publicize listing of professional opportunities
  • Build awareness of and establish endowments for staff and operational expenses
  • Develop short-term professional service opportunities

These steps can help develop more effective and sustainable organizations and thus a more effective nonprofit sector.

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