Hiring Your First Executive Director for a Nonprofit

May 6, 2020
Posted in Recruiting
May 6, 2020 Recruiterie

As your nonprofit organization grows, the need to hire a skilled leader becomes more prominent. Hiring an Executive Director for a nonprofit role may seem daunting, especially for organizations that did not previously have one.

Having the right guidelines in place when planning this hire is crucial. After all, the role of your Executive Director will impact your organization and those who work for you.

So, it is important to have a detailed plan in place when hiring an Executive Director for a nonprofit.

Understandably, you might be unsure of where to begin your search.

To guide your search, we’ve put together these guidelines to consider when hiring an Executive Director for a nonprofit.

Hiring Your First Executive Director for a Nonprofit

Determine Your Organizational Goals, Mission, and Vision

The first step for any search should be to determine what the unique needs of your organization are.

A way to narrow down what these needs are is to start by defining your current vision.

Where do you want your organization to head towards in the future? What must be accomplished to get there?

A major responsibility of an Executive Director is to champion these goals so that your organization remains aligned with your vision and mission.

It is key to have a clear understanding of what these goals are when searching for a candidate so you can properly assess their overall fit for your organization.

Gain Insight From Leadership in Your Organization

Once you’ve determined what needs this candidate must meet, your next step is to create a comprehensive job description.

It is beneficial to do so by engaging with your organization’s leadership. Using the insight of this leadership is useful because their roles will be directly impacted by this Executive Director. They may have a unique perspective on what this role must achieve that you had not considered.

Additionally, speaking with your employees who will interact with this Executive Director can give you a better idea of what personality your candidate should possess.

In the end, the best way to grow a successful team is to find a candidate who is not only functionally qualified but culturally aligned with your organization as well.

Assess Your Organization’s Current Budget

The topic of your budget is an important one for nonprofit organizations.

If you’re in need of an Executive Director who can assess and help your finance department manage your budget, keep this in mind during your search. This can be included in the responsibilities you list in your Executive Director’s job description as well.

Primarily, assessing your budget also helps you in calculating the market value of each candidate you consider.

The main three factors to consider with market value are the following:

  • The average salary of similar Executive Director positions.
  • How much value this candidate can bring to your organization.
  • The current value of your organization, based on organization size, existing salary, and the organization’s overall success.

To find the average salary, you can look at similar nonprofit roles as well as general Executive Director roles to gain some insight.

Assessing the value of a candidate depends on what you’ve outlined as responsibilities for this position.

Let’s say you need a candidate with experience in handling finances. When looking at candidates, it is likely you would place a higher value on a candidate with that experience over those without it.

Streamline Your Search With the Right Executive Search Partner

Understandably, starting an executive search can be a bit overwhelming on your own. However, this is not a process you have to do alone; in fact, it can be more beneficial to your search to partner with an experienced search firm.

By partnering with executive search firms, such as Recruiterie, you can gain its team’s invaluable insight thanks to years of experience in building successful teams.

With experience in helping nonprofits build the right teams, Recruiterie knows that no nonprofit is quite like another, Recruiterie’s team ensures they take the time to learn what makes your organization unique.

Next, Recruiterie guides you through its comprehensive screening process. This process considers a candidate’s functional qualifications and cultural alignment with your organization.

By and large, as an extension of your team, Recruiterie supports you throughout the recruiting process, ensuring you find the right candidate for your organization.

Are you in need of a skilled Executive Director for your nonprofit organization?

Contact the team at Recruiterie and receive a custom-tailored recruiting solution that meets your organization’s needs today.


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