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Hiring Key Employees

Finding the right employee in any business, either for profit or nonprofit, is a challenge. In the nonprofit arena the daily pressures of fundraising continue to raise the bar when boards are seeking to hire the executive director or development director for their organization.

Finding the right individual means matching the organizational needs of finding someone who can both manage the structure of the organization while at the same time motivating the board to keep the organizational momentum moving in the right direction.

Stated another way, everyone is looking for an individual that has boundless energy with the ability to transfer their excitability. People seek an individual that works smart and can think critically solving problems as they occur while still having the personal skills to make you feel important and comfortable working with them, not for them. This individual is expected to balance the reality of having to be an obedient follower for the board while maintaining the ability to be its visionary leader.

As job markets continue to tighten, all good executive leadership in the nonprofit arena will continue to be a prized commodity. That said, looking for potential candidates outside the traditional arena, while looking for specific talents, should be considered. While some may disagree, nonprofits are a business and should be run like a business! Having a person in charge of your organization that has no “business sense” will spell disaster.

Finding this prized employee is difficult at best and impossible unless you have other organizational tools in place. One such tool is having a clear job description! Regardless of what you might have in place today start, this approach with a blank sheet of paper and really ask yourself the question, “What job do we need to be done?” “What did the previous executive director or director of development do right?” “What do we want to be changed?” While hard to swallow on the back of this same sheet note any board dysfunctions that keep someone from being successful in meeting this description. Getting the right person requires board members to be open and honest.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.

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