Board Education Key In Nonprofit’s Search For New Executive Director

The Challenge We Identified

In nonprofit organizations, leadership changes often present unique challenges. Key stakeholders may see the nonprofit leader as the heart and soul of the organization. In fact, the executive director my even be one of the founders of the nonprofit. Or perhaps the previous executive director was long-tenured and his or her compensation did not keep up with the growth and evolution of the organization.

When our client engaged Decision Associates to conduct a search for a new executive director, we identified these very shortcomings. We also saw other needs, including:

  • Inconsistent management of staff
  • Over reliance on a single funding source
  • Mixed board expectations for the executive director role
  • Absence of organized fundraising or marketing initiatives

Adding to these challenges were the physical limitations for interviewing and travel amid the Covid-19 epidemic. Nonetheless, Decision Associates’ executive search team jumped in with a focused plan of attack.


Our Approach To The Problem

Given the lack of alignment among the organization’s board members, we knew it was imperative to help them redefine the executive director role. This included clarifying priorities and their metrics of success for the new leader. In turn, we provided the board with an analysis of competitive compensation for this type of role. For many of the board members, this data was particularly eye-opening.

During our national search for the organization’s new executive director, we candidly shared with candidates both the current and future desired state of this nonprofit. In time, we identified 15 strong candidates for the role. Via our customized interview and assessment processes, we helped the board choose and onboard a new leader for the organization.

What Has Happened Since

In the months since this recruitment project was completed, our executive search team has checked in regularly with both the new executive director and the organization’s board chair. This is a standard part of our process, one that we feel is critical for long-term success.

To that end, the new executive director appears to be on the road to taking the organization to the next level. Recent accomplishments include:

  • Established a strong relationship with the organization’s board chair
  • Re-engage donors and initiated several high-profile fundraising initiatives
  • Developed several new services
  • Paid off all the organization’s debt
  • Upgraded outdated hiring practices