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Hiring an Executive Director

Finding a great Executive Director can be tricky process, as they are senior positions, but tend not to be as well paid as in the private sector.

The search should include advertising on your own site and lists, as well as GoodWork, environmental networks, associations and listserves, local media, and word of mouth. Larger nonprofits with a substantial recruitment budget can also consider hiring an executive search firm / "headhunter" with experience in the nonprofit sector, to assist with the process.

Make sure your job posting starts with the "Why": Why is this an important, meaningful role? What's the organization's mission / raison d'etre? Why would this be a great organization to work for?

For ideas on how to word your posting, review current Executive Director and other senior postings. If your organization has previously posted for Executive Director on GoodWork, contact us and we can send you the posting.

Don't expect to hire an Executive Director in a day. Unlike entry level positions, an effective E.D. search involves substantial time and legwork. But once you find the right person, your organization will benefit for years to come.

Related tips, articles & resources:

  • Hiring the right Executive Director — (pdf)
  • Hiring and Performance Appraisal of the Executive Director — (pdf)
  • Interview Guide for Hiring an Executive Director — (article)
  • How to write a compelling job ad that attracts the right people — (article)
  • Five ways to compete with the corporate sector to land top talent — (article)
  • Hiring a Nonprofit Executive Director (written by an executive search firm – focus is on choosing a recruitment agency to assist with the search) — (article)
  • Are you cut out to be an executive director? — (article)

More information on...

How to write a job description

Executive Director

Nonprofit recruitment


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