Nonprofit Staffing: 5 Tips for Developing Executive Roles

Learn how to build new leadership roles at your growing nonprofit!

Your nonprofit is on the rise, which means it’s time to develop new executive nonprofit staffing for expanding your operation and fundraising efforts.

Thankfully, your nonprofit can always turn to a professional nonprofit consulting firm for guidance and direction as you graduate to your next phase in operation.

These development experts will help your nonprofit expand by designing new leadership roles (executive directors, development directors, major gift officers, etc.) as well as fundraising avenues like mobile giving and matching gift services.

However, no one said that carving out major nonprofit staffing positions would be easy. That’s why we’ve detailed exactly what measures you should take to incorporate these influential changes in a fluid, low-stress fashion:

  1. Develop a nonprofit staffing search committee.
  2. Understand the nonprofit staffing hiring process.
  3. Determine an advertising budget for executive roles.
  4. Emphasize your nonprofit’s culture to executive hires.
  5. Make collaborative decisions when growing nonprofit staff.

By following this feasible plan of action, your nonprofit can take your fundraising and development feats to the next level! For more tips about getting your organization up and running, checkout Snowball’s starting a nonprofit checklist.


1. Develop a Nonprofit Staffing Search Committee

While undergoing an ambitious employment change, the first step your nonprofit should be aware of is forming a well-rounded search committee.

A search committee is a collection of employees — each with their own set of strengths — that conceptualize new nonprofit staffing roles before hiring the right person for the job.

During this process, you’ll want to recruit individuals who work across a range of disciplines and have an impressive history of nonprofit work. They should also represent a variety of backgrounds to achieve as diverse feedback as possible.

A nonprofit executive search firm can help you identify such promising figures and analyze how your search committee will come together as an effective and unified team.

Another benefit to using a nonprofit consultant when assembling your search committee is that they won’t be weighed down by any potential bias for employees and instead recruit candidates who will bring the most expertise to the table.

Takeaway: An executive search firm can help your nonprofit organize a blended and competent search committee that will help set the stage for future positive employee relationships.


2. Understand the Nonprofit Staffing Hiring Process

There’s no doubt that organizations have come a long way in the interview process since the days of mailing in applications and hosting one round of interviews.

But before you conduct your first interview, you’ll need to create a succession plan that outlines how you’ll recruit a new leader as well as the steps required to acclimate the person into their new role. While it’s ideal to have a transition plan in place before you need one to anticipate changes in leadership or unexpected departures, you can also create one before you start the hiring process for your executive role.

What’s more, this plan can be used again (with updates, of course!) when the time comes to transition a new person into the role.

Your nonprofit should have a succession plan for board members, executive directors, and other high-level staff, and it should include the following key points: 

  • An overview of the responsibilities of the role.
  • A list of opportunities and challenges the current employee has faced.
  • A timeline for transitioning the person into their new role.

For more information about creating a succession plan, check out Aly Sterling Philanthropy’s guide on the topic.

Once you have a succession plan in place, make sure your nonprofit is up to speed on how to optimize your hiring procedure by partnering with a nonprofit executive search firm.

These consultants are well-versed on not only the steps of a successful hiring process, but also on how to manage your interviews in a way that evaluates the top qualities in candidates that your nonprofit is looking for.

In fact, some of the top services provided by executive search firms are grounded in the initial hiring process, such as:

  • Screening potential candidates’ application materials
  • Prepping your search committee for each stage of interviews
  • Leading background and reference checks
  • Advancing finalist applicants faster
  • Managing hiring timelines and interviews
  • Marketing the open position to a targeted audience

In this way, a nonprofit consultant will work with you from start to finish by setting an efficient hiring procedure in place for your nonprofit to rely on for years to come.

Some consulting firms will do more than headhunting and management. Comprehensive executive search firms will also work with you to develop the executive nonprofit staffing role within your organization. For example, Aly Sterling Philanthropy offers an optional “onboarding” service dedicated to training.

Takeaway: While your nonprofit may understand the basics of the hiring process, a nonprofit executive search firm will help you identify your brightest nonprofit staffing contenders through an in-depth hiring strategy.


3. Determine an Advertising Budget for Executive Roles

But before you can implement your exemplary hiring routine, your potential candidates first need to know about your amazing nonprofit staffing opportunities!

As a growing nonprofit however, funds for marketing and promotions may be understandably tight.

Luckily, a nonprofit consulting firm has the expertise to help you fashion a feasible advertising budget to get the word out about your nonprofit staffing openings.

These experts will help your nonprofit effectively leverage advertising costs in a way that doesn’t majorly affect funds set aside for other priorities. They can also examine your past fundraising feasibility studies to learn more about your donor demographic and how best to market towards them.

Likewise, these professionals can assist your nonprofit in planning and executing a powerful advertising game plan using both on and offline resources like:

  • Social media promotion
  • Email marketing
  • Online job boards
  • Job description letters
  • Fundraising newsletters

For example, take job boards. When are they worth the cost? How do you know where you should advertise and where you should stay away from?

Your consultants will be able to help your team identify which job boards not only align with your organization but also with the types of candidates you’re looking to recruit.

Different boards specialize in different candidates (for instance, Social Fish and social media), and your consultants can help you navigate those specialties.

Overall, these critical services, such as mapping out job board strategies, will help your nonprofit attract optimal contenders in a productive and cost-effective manner.

Takeaway: By developing a lucrative advertising budget and strategy, a nonprofit consulting firm will help you reach your target crowd of nonprofit staffing applicants.


4. Emphasize Your Nonprofit’s Culture to Executive Hires

While it’s important to hire a job candidate whose experience and skills look good on paper, an even bigger deal breaker for your nonprofit is how your newest employee will fit in with the rest of your nonprofit’s culture.

That’s why it’s imperative for your nonprofit to go over elements of your nonprofit culture in your initial hiring process.

A nonprofit consulting firm can assist your nonprofit in relaying your mission and company culture to encourage and excite job applicants with details like:

  • Opportunities for raises and promotions
  • Your general decision-making process/chain of command
  • Independent work vs. collaborative work process
  • Communication policies with staff and donors
  • Schedule and deadline procedures
  • Team building practices and retreats

This information will register greatly with your pool of nonprofit staffing candidates who earlier may have been on the fence about the job, but are now excited to join your team.

Takeaway: A nonprofit consultant will work with you to promote a company culture that complements your new hire’s role in your nonprofit.



5. Make Collaborative Decisions When Growing Nonprofit Staff

Speaking of fostering a community environment, your nonprofit should always recognize the significance of making collaborative decisions when enhancing nonprofit staffing.

While this tip is particularly useful for your development directors and search committee, the merits of collective decision making can be applied across your nonprofit’s team and departments.

Chances are, your nonprofit probably has a good grip on your existing group dynamic, but how do you continue to build a collaborative network with the influx of new roles and leaders?

This is where the objectivity of a nonprofit consultant will come in handy. You see, this firm is able to see the bigger picture of your nonprofit’s organization which in turn allows them to examine how each piece is connected.

As a result, they can fill your nonprofit in on how each cog in your machine affects one another and stress how your entire team’s input is invaluable when bringing on a new hire, let alone creating a new position.

When it comes down to it, making changes to your nonprofit’s roles, fundraising, and even software requires the efforts and cooperation of everyone on your team. By encouraging them to be involved in the nonprofit staffing process early on, you can make the transition as smooth as possible.

Learn more about how a nonprofit fundraising consultant can help you recruit nonprofit professionals and broaden your fundraising strategy with these essential tips from Snowball!

Takeaway: A consultant can aid your nonprofit in fostering collaborative decision making as you expand your nonprofit staffing management and operations.

Even though incorporating new nonprofit staffing in your nonprofit can be intimidating, keep in mind that it shows how much your organization has already accomplished to get to this exciting place.

A nonprofit consulting firm will recognize these achievements as well as help you on your way to bigger and better opportunities.



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Get in touch with us to take a tour of the Snowball platform and find the right fundraising solutions for your nonprofit.

Get in touch with us to take a tour of the Snowball platform and find the right fundraising solutions for your nonprofit.