Recruiting Your CEO: A Step-by-Step Guide for Not-for-Profit Boards

roles and responsibilities May 06, 2024
Recruiting Your CEO: A Step-by-Step Guide for Not-for-Profit Boards


One request we get often, but that we can no longer meet, is assistance with recruiting and selecting your next Chief Executive Officer or Executive Director. Been there, done that. Se we are distilling the latest research, evidence and best practices into a straightforward guide for boards. Here is our draft outline. Your thoughts?


Our plan is to elicit your feedback and revise and rework as we go, posting a section perhaps every two weeks, based on what is important to you. Please let us know what would work best for you! We will send draft chapters to you for review.


Here is your draft outline:


Recruiting Your CEO: A Step-by-Step Guide for Not-for-Profit Boards

[working title]




Introduction.  The challenges and opportunities presented in an executive search in the not-for-profit sector. The purpose of the book with a brief overview of the process.


Chapter 1. Understanding the Landscape. Understanding the world of not-for-profits and your specific sector. Understating your organizational context. Understanding the CEO impact                                                                                


Chapter 2. Preparing for the Search. Readiness (current mission, values, strategic and work plans). Preparing for the search (Board engagement, timelines, budget).


Chapter 3. Search Strategy and Process. Role of the incumbent, of succession management, and of key stakeholders.


Chapter 4. Considering a Search Firm. Advantages and disadvantages, roles and responsibilities, communications, criteria for selection, contract and fees.       


Chapter 5. Determining the Search Committee. Roles and responsibilities, composition, ethical and legal considerations, confidentiality, conflicts of interest.


Chapter 6. Crafting the Position Profile. Expectations (of the organization, of the position, of the candidate, key success factors). Defining the role (characteristics of successful CEOs, the job description). The position profile (process for development, questions to use, criteria). Compensation and benefits.         

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Chapter 7. Sourcing and Attracting Talent. Community and organizational profiles. Recruitment (advertise, targets, conferences. Networks, referrals). Acknowledgements. Internal vs external candidates. Summary of applicants.


Chapter 8. Screening the Applicants. Predicting success. Assessments. Selection process. Screening. Cover Letters. Conducting Interviews. Checking References. Research and evidence vs common practice. Ranking of Candidates.


Chapter 9. Selecting the CEO. The on-site process including the role of stakeholders, on-site Interviews, final candidate assessments, negotiating the terms and conditions of appointment, announcing the decision, record-keeping.       


Chapter 10.  Transitions. An examination of the onboarding process, including investing in the partnership, orientation and training, assessment and Evaluation.


Chapter 11. Current Challenges and Trends. The potential for outstanding organizational outcomes. Summary and conclusions with key takeaways.


Chapter 12. Resources. Templates. Samples.            




What are your main “pain points” dealing with CEO recruitment and selection?

What advice would be most helpful to you?
And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!


Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.




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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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