I recently did an interview for an Executive Director position at a local not for profit and I wish to share my experience. I asked questions I thought were fair. How much funding does your organization bring in? From where? Where are the holes in your organization? What type of culture do you currently have?

To my biggest surprise, the Board members did not know. This is shocking to me because how can you hire an Executive Director without knowing where you are going, what your current stats are, or how you are doing in general.

Sometimes I wonder and ponder to myself, is it worth it? For example, if I had taken the position, it would have been a massive pay cut for me as they are not a big not for profit. The other issue I had would be working with the board to build some sort of structure in terms of references. However it seems like this board was very hands off (which I have never seen before) and that they looked to the Executive Director to set direction, policy, etc.

The poor staff was also extremely over worked. It’s no wonder as well as they didn’t do their basic homework. They never billed labour hours into the cost of care for animals. As such, they were caring for x amount of animals and always running a negative.

Even though I knew I didn’t want the position, what I did was what I do best – strategic planning and session time. I did a basic SWOT analysis for them. I had two days of information so in my disclaimer, I did mention, please note this is not a thorough assessment. It is for illustrative purposes.

After my 10 minute walk through of a basic SWOT analysis…. the room was deafeningly quiet. They were all speechless. This is information an organization should be well aware of first before they bring on an ED.

I even remember asking her, what are you looking for in an ED? She did not know how to answer this. This also makes me appreciate external recruiters. Every time I have dealt with an external recruiter, I got more information on the pitfalls, the wins of the organization which allows you to better prepare.

Does anyone else note that a lot of not-for-profits are just happy to receive monies. However what most not-for-profits should be doing is becoming a social enterprise?

I secretly count this as a blessing. Yes, I could have done a lot for this organization. However, it would have been A LOT of work. I would have to help the board become more involved and have a better understanding of the organizational needs.

Off to another adventure it seems.

Published by Pamela Vang

A first generation Canadian. Blogger. Lover of life. Sharer of experiences.

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