Although the past five years have seen a significant improvement in executive employment opportunities, the job market has changed drastically from its pre-recession image. Increasingly, founders and board members of charitable organizations seek outside leadership for their nonprofits. And–whether due to a dearth of opportunities in their industry, a personal conviction that aligns with a company’s mission, or the enticing community-centric atmosphere of most not-for-profit companies–many executives are happy to make the switch. But that transition from for-profit to not-for-profit leadership is not always a smooth one. Bridge the gap with these solutions from Executive Resumes Atlanta.
How to Transition to a Nonprofit Leadership Role
- Understand the importance of company culture. Corporate culture is a buzzword in the business world, inspiring weekly articles by powerhouse publications like Forbes and HBR. But while finding the right cultural fit is pertinent to job searches in for-profit industries, it’s non-negotiable in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit leaders list cultural transitions as the most challenging adaptations for executives moving from for-profit sectors. Nonprofit companies move at a slower pace, emphasizing collaboration and shared vision instead of profits. Many business executives–used to lightning fast, one-man decision-making–struggle to adapt to an approval-based leadership structure.
- Think people, not profits. Although every organization needs revenue to survive, nonprofit organizations use profits to satisfy people, not the reverse. Executives used to a cutthroat business culture may struggle with the influx of vocal stakeholders that follow nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit leaders must often contend with regulations and suggestions from local government, board members of benefit groups, recurrent donors, and individuals aided by the organization. Executives in the nonprofit sector must learn the combination of flexibility and decisiveness necessary to satisfy contending factions without stagnating company growth.
- Look ahead. It may take six months, a year, or even longer for an executive to fully transition to a nonprofit business model. In the interim, executives should focus on learning the idiosyncrasies of their organization, determining which for-profit management skills can improve their nonprofit effectiveness, and letting go of leadership mentalities that don’t fit in the not-for-profit sphere.
Call Colleen at Executive Resumes Atlanta for LinkedIn coaching, career building, and a professionally written executive resume.