There’s no question about it: finding the right person to lead your nonprofit team to greatness can be a tricky business. It can be difficult to track down one promising candidate who meets all of your nonprofit’s preferences such as:
- A range of nonprofit experience.
- A clean and philanthropic reputation.
- Strong leadership and project management skills.
- A warm and engaging personality.
But before you declare your executive search efforts futile, keep in mind that all it may take to draw potential candidates out of the woodwork is for your nonprofit to sell your cause and community impact in just the right light.
This can be done by first organizing a detailed job description that’s both inviting and breaks down the position followed by careful implementation of these top tips:
- Host executive director job information on multiple platforms.
- Emphasize your nonprofit’s culture in your executive search.
- Develop an executive director recruitment strategy.
Once you’ve taken these necessary measures, your nonprofit’s next executive director should step forward in no time!
Let’s dive in with our foolproof job description template below!
Executive Director Job Description Template
More often than not, the detail and tone of your executive director job description will be your applicants’ first impression of your nonprofit. That’s why it’s imperative for your nonprofit to compose a job description that holds equal parts personality and professionalism.
To achieve this delicate balance, try drawing some inspiration from this sample letter template:
City, State ZIP
You’re receiving this letter because we over here at [Insert nonprofit’s name here] believe in recognizing people for their nonprofit achievements — and congratulations, we’re impressed!
The position of executive director has recently opened up at our organization and we’re looking for someone like you who can provide unlimited drive and dedication to serving our cause and community.
This instrumental role is ideal for an outgoing, renaissance man (or woman) who enjoys leading humanitarian conversations and being personally involved in all aspects of a growing nonprofit.
In addition, potential candidates should meet the following criteria: [List in-depth qualifications for the position here].
A love of [Insert nonprofit’s focus here] is also a plus!
If you’re interested in pursuing this life-changing opportunity, simply fill out and mail in the application portion of this letter or visit our website to complete an online application.
On behalf of everyone at [Insert nonprofit’s name here] thank you for all of your hard work in the nonprofit arena and we look forward to hearing from you soon!
Sincerely, [or ‘With warm regards’]
Signature of a leader in your nonprofit
Typed name of same nonprofit leader
P.S. [Include a statement about upcoming events, drives or other ways to get involved with your nonprofit] ”
This template does an excellent job of engaging with the executive director candidate in a personalized fashion by noting their existing nonprofit accomplishments and acknowledging how their background will fit in with your nonprofit’s needs.
Host Executive Director Job Information on Multiple Platforms
In addition to constructing a well thought-out job description, there are several other maneuvers your nonprofit can utilize to better get the word out on your executive director vacancy.
For instance, hosting your job information on multiple platforms will help you reach a more diverse pool of contenders — and we’re not just talking about LinkedIn.
In fact, there are a whole slew of online avenues that you can post your job description on, including but not limited to:
- Your nonprofit’s website
- Professional social media channels
- Online job boards exclusive to nonprofits like Nonprofit Times
- Generic job boards like Indeed or Glassdoor
By the end of the day, your email will be overflowing with eligible applications.
Emphasize Your Nonprofit’s Culture in Your Executive Search
Remember that your executive director isn’t just signing on for a new job, but rather joining a whole new team!
That’s why while promoting this important position, your nonprofit should take extra care in emphasizing your company culture to give your applicants a good idea of what makes your nonprofit stand out.
A few things to touch on about your nonprofit’s workplace may include:
- Personal stories about the nonprofit’s founding and early days
- Successful past fundraisers or events
- Key partnerships with other charities or organizations
- Fun company traditions or games
- Company retreats and other team-building opportunities
Oftentimes, your nonprofit culture and team could be the deciding factor on whether or not your top executive director candidate takes the job.
Develop an Executive Director Recruitment Strategy
Now that you’ve thought about how to attract applicants, it’s time to assemble an evaluation process to determine which one is the best fit for your nonprofit. After all, executive director is a huge undertaking and you’ll want to ensure that the person you select is up for the responsibility.
To help you find the right candidate faster and more efficiently, your nonprofit must organize a lengthier selection process with three essential components.
Let’s take a look.
Establish a Rigorous Screening/Interview Process
Nowadays, the typical job interview process may comprise two to four phone-based and in-person interviews before an offer is even extended.
With that in mind, how extensive should your nonprofit’s executive search process be?
The answer is grounded in just how pivotal the executive director role is in determining your nonprofit’s future goals and success. Therefore, it only makes sense to hold your executive director applicants to a higher standard of rigorous screenings and interviews than other leading nonprofit officers.
To help you filter through your options faster, you nonprofit should be aware of rookie application mistakes such as:
- Applications without a cover letter or references.
- Typos or misspellings in resumes or cover letters.
- Inauthentic or faux cover letters.
- Resumes detailing less experience than required.
- Applications that did not follow your specified process.
Your nonprofit already has enough on it’s hands without having to waste time on job candidates who did not follow your guidelines or simply don’t fit the role.
Organize a Search Committee
Your search committee is going to be your cornerstone during the entire executive director interview process.
This team should feature exceptional members who have not only worked at your nonprofit for years, but know the ins and outs of how everything is run.
These people can include HR representatives, fundraising specialists, planned giving directors and more, as long as each member can bring something new to the team in terms of skills, personality, or experience.
In addition to conducting rounds of interviews, your search committee can also share their input for what the job description should entail as well as recommendations for qualified contenders.
Overall, your nonprofit should take careful consideration into who comprises your executive search committee, because it’s ultimately going to fall on them to make the final call on who will lead your nonprofit.
Partner with a Top Executive Search Firm
Rest assured, any nonprofit with concerns about starting the executive search process can always reach out for a professional helping hand by uniting with a notable executive search firm.
Executive search firms are invaluable to nonprofits in how they analyze your specific needs and recruit and train exceptional leaders to meet them faster.
These firms are also designed to walk your nonprofit through the necessary steps of executive search with hands-on assistance in:
- Determining a feasible fundraising plan
- Developing an advertising plan and budget
- Conceptualizing your nonprofit’s executive director position
- Assisting in the screening and interview process
- Providing direction within your search committee
By taking advantage of these headhunting and onboarding services, your nonprofit’s executive search process will reap the most rewards and run as smoothly as possible.
Altogether, this detailed job description template and recruiting best practices are guaranteed to open up a realm of possibilities for your nonprofit’s next executive director.
FOR MORE ON EXECUTIVE SEARCH, CHECK OUT THESE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
- Nonprofit Staffing: 5 Tips for Developing Executive Roles — Check out @Pay’s expert tips for creating and hiring new nonprofit executive positions!
- Major Gift Officer Job Description [Free Template] — Develop the relationship between your nonprofit’s executive director and major gift officer with DonorSearch’s MGO hiring tips!
- Nonprofit Growth: 7 Tips for Hiring a Development Expert — Discover how a nonprofit development expert can help you build new executive roles with these best practices from QGiv!
- Top 10 Fundraising Consulting Firms for Better Fundraising — Help your new executive director grow your fundraising needs by reviewing DonorSearch’s top 10 fundraising consulting firms!