3 ways nonprofits can benefit from executive search firms

August 19, 2013

3 ways nonprofits can benefit from executive search firms

Organizations are often as strong as their leaders. Top decision-makers may have a good feel for how to bring in donations and spread the word, but aren't the best people to drive an organization in the right direction. By using an executive search firm, nonprofits can not only find someone who understands their goals, but can also help them figure out how to get there, Below are some tips for taking advantage of executive search opportunities:

Stay in regular communication
Executive search firms can meet with many candidates before recommending some of the top prospects to nonprofit decision-makers. However, if many of the most talented professionals seem to be no longer interested in the nonprofit, the search firm needs to provide feedback on what organization board members may need to change about their requirements or specifications. A conversation via email or phone calls every other day can give the search firm a better chance to bring in the right people.

Use a firm that has worked with nonprofits
While nonprofits are run similarly to many businesses, there are some differences that require varying types of leaders. Search firms that are familiar with these types of organizations can provide insight that other companies simply cannot. The more experience an executive search firm has working with nonprofits, the better quality of candidates they will interview and help the organization hire.

Create guidelines for candidates
Executive search firms are often open to bringing in all types of candidates to meet about leadership roles at nonprofits. However, organizations often have strict requirements for who they want to be the next top executive at their organization. It's important to spell out these guidelines to search firms before allowing them to evaluate prospects.


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We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

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Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY