Nonprofit Executive Director Responsibilities & Roles

December 17, 2020
December 17, 2020 Recruiterie

The Executive Director at a nonprofit organization is an essential leader in managing the overall operations internally and externally. Administrative duties ranging from hiring to optimizing budgets fall under the nonprofit Executive Director job description.
The role of a nonprofit Executive Director requires a versatile individual to orchestrate many moving parts. Nevertheless, it can be a relatively broad title that may leave recruiters uncertain of how to phrase necessary job requirements.

To aid you in your search, we’ve taken an in-depth look at the ideal nonprofit Executive Director job description. Keep reading to learn more about the nonprofit Executive Director role and how you can find talent that exceeds your expectations.

A Comprehensive Guide to Hiring for Nonprofit Executive Director Roles

Nonprofit Executive Director Job Description

A well-written job description is an essential part of the hiring process. When it comes to executive positions, poorly-written or unorganized descriptions will deter qualified applicants.

Make sure to be clear about your open role when writing a nonprofit Executive Director job description. If there are many responsibilities you’d like to include, start by listing your general expectations. This way, you can ensure you cover each necessary aspect of the position by creating a comprehensive job description.

Below, we cover the necessary parts to include in a well-written nonprofit Executive Director job description.

Nonprofit Executive Director Job Summary

The job summary is not meant to detail every daily task of the role. Instead, your nonprofit Executive Director job summary should outline the role’s general duties.

For the Executive Director role, a primary duty is to ensure the day-to-day function of the organization. To fulfill this duty, the Executive Director must oversee organizational finances, employees, fundraising, business operations and analyze and optimize all parts of your system.

Nonprofit Executive Director Requirements and Responsibilities

The responsibilities of a nonprofit Executive Director will correspond with your nonprofit’s needs. As a result, the scope of a nonprofit Executive Director’s responsibilities can be wide. However, there are numerous standard tasks that any nonprofit Executive Director must perform to succeed in their role.

Below is a list of tasks that are typically included within the role of a nonprofit Executive Director. Examine this list with your organizational needs in mind so you can tailor your job description to your unique needs.

  • Leads staff, from the hiring and firing of employees to creating a strong company culture
  • Manages finances, including budgeting and approval account spending
  • Coordinates with the board of directors to report on performance and advocate for the organization
  • Oversees daily operations of the business
  • Develops fundraising for the nonprofit
  • Represents the nonprofit to the public
  • Analyzes and optimizes business strategy

With these responsibilities in mind, think through how each responsibility applies to your business. While the summary is a general overview, the job description’s responsibilities section should give a clear idea of what the job will entail. Additionally, this section should correspond with what you expect to see on the ideal nonprofit Executive Director’s resume. This will aid you in attracting the right applicants for your position.

Nonprofit Executive Director Skill Set

Now that the applicant is aware of what the job entails, the description lists what the company is looking for in a nonprofit Executive Director skills set. This section may be tricky to write since the ideal candidate may possess several skills that are hard to find in one person. A way to avoid being too broad and finding the right balance of strengths is by breaking apart the skill section as detailed below.

  • Hard Skills – these are the technical skills required for the job, like knowing a specific software or how to write in a proper format.
  • Soft Skills – these are the skills that come from personality and experience rather than formal education or training, like dependability and communication.
  • Education – a Bachelor’s degree is likely the minimum for this position, depending on the nonprofit and other experience. Other courses, training, or certificates may be required or helpful.
  • Experience – for an executive role, the applicant needs an ample amount of experience, whether in the nonprofit sector, management or another relevant position.

If the list of skills is getting long and only attracts a unicorn, some may be moved to a preferred or bonus section rather than required. Think of the perfect person for the job, imagine any blockers, and work from there.

Nonprofit Executive Director Interview Questions

Keep that perfect person in mind when planning questions for the interview. Ideally, what would their responses be to the questions? Do they need to meet all the qualifications, or is it more important that they feel like a good fit and can grow in areas where they are weak? While it is easy to ask about education and hard skills, it can be more difficult to gauge a person’s level of experience and performance when given the job. Use the nonprofit Executive Director interview questions below as a starting point to dig deeper into why the candidate may or may not be a good fit.

1. Why are you interested in working with this nonprofit?

While any employee should be aligned with their company’s mission, it is essential in a nonprofit where revenue will not be the driving factor in business decisions. A person who is passionate about the cause will be more likely to thrive, plus it is an excellent question to ensure that they have done their research on the company.

2. What approach do you take to management?

Different management styles can be useful, but this question will help determine if the applicant aligns with the organization’s goals. Is it a positive environment that needs someone friendly yet firm? Is the nonprofit in need of repair and a manager who can whip the team back into shape? Fitting their management style to the current or desired company culture will help determine if the candidate is the right choice.

3. What is an experience you have had with fundraising? Was it successful?

A significant part of the Executive Director’s position will be growing funds to ensure that the nonprofit is successful. A candidate with experience in fundraising is going to come in with ideas to help the nonprofit grow. If they have not been successful in the past, they need to discuss how they’ve learned from mistakes or how they intend to learn.

4. Tell me about a time where you had to juggle many things at once. What method did you learn for staying organized?

Hopefully, the interviewee has had a position in which they managed multiple projects, and that is why they feel comfortable applying to be an Executive Director. Asking this question will allow you to assess the candidate’s time-management skills and ability to operate under stress.

5. What do you look for in an employee when building a team?

Ask this question to see how the applicant views company culture and how they measure success. The answer will also point out their strengths and what they value when it comes to work.

Nonprofit Executive Director Salary

Given all of the nonprofit Executive Director requirements, the level of experience, and the executive title, salary will be important to candidates for this position. Determine the range based on the amount of responsibility and level of expertise requested and compare with similar positions and considering the impact the role will have.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a top executive is $104,690 per year, though it should be noted that it is not specific to nonprofits.

Locate a Qualified Nonprofit Executive Director

Recruiting for a specific position, especially when it is high-level and will significantly impact the company, is not a light task. Recruiterie works in both the leadership and nonprofit arenas to help businesses reach their full potential with the best hires.

The Recruiterie team works to understand the mission of the nonprofit and what the role requires, and from there will perform an exhaustive search to find the best candidate.

Let the team at Recruiterie find the perfect, culturally-aligned nonprofit Executive Director for your organization. Reach out here or by calling (602) 326-6820 to get started.

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