An Interim Executive Director at Your Nonprofit?
Top Ten (11, actually) Reasons Why It Can Be a Godsend
- It provides the needed expertise to run a nonprofit business, ESPECIALLY when there’s a likelihood of existing confusion, transitional and other change, possible demoralization.
- It puts an “outsider” with no organizational baggage in the position of guiding, stabilizing, running the organization.
- It means the Board can do its job—govern—and not worry about getting engaged in day-to-day operations.
- It means the staff can do its job—implement the mission—and not have Board micromanaging (out of necessity) the day-to-day operations.
- It sends out the “right” message to many funders—from government officials to foundation leaders, the major donors and more—that the important business of implementing the mission (via their dollars!) is the top priority.
- It provides an often needed “built-in” consultancy that gives honest and direct feedback on organizational issues needing to be addressed so the new ED has a better chance of succeeding.
- It protects everyone from burnout. Program goes on while the Board can recruit and hire the new executive director.
- It provides an opportunity for “insiders”—both Board and staff—to step up as key leaders to help the interim ED, but with reasonable and not heroic expectations.
- It protects “in-house” candidates from the dilemma of managing two jobs (often interim ED and their normal work) WHILE they’re also interested in, perhaps pursuing the permanent ED position.
- It is not only affordable, it can provide considerable cost savings, especially if the Board takes the time to thoughtfully recruit the permanent ED. On the other hand, if the replacement process is hurried and doesn’t work out, the organization must repeat the process, costly in so many ways; and finally,
- It can translate a tough transition time into a creative and healing time, especially when the organization has gone through more than the normal share of stress, change, and possibly grieving.