Everyone contributed insights into what the current nonprofit search landscape was looking like right now. The goal was to share what we are hearing and seeing to keep our team at the forefront of today’s rapidly shifting nonprofit employment trends.
When everyone had had a chance to weigh in, we realized we had a great nonprofit hiring resource in the making. So today we are sharing these industry insights with you to help inform your organization’s recruiting efforts.
Why? One primary reason is that organizational leaders are being impacted at unprecedented levels by uncertainty and upheaval within organizations and in our society broadly. As the International Coaching Federation’s 2022 Consumer Awareness Study states, "In times of great change, and increasing pressures and demands, coaching is only seen to be more relevant."
But why are so many more organizations turning to coaching? Can't consultants offer the same kind of services? Let’s look at ways that they differ and how they can complement each other.
Hugo House is a Seattle-based organization that aims to provide a place for writers of all ages to come together to celebrate the written word. This year they celebrated their 25th anniversary as an organization and made an announcement that their current Interim Executive Director, poet Rob Arnold, would be leaving to lead Poets House, a Manhattan-based nonprofit poetry organization and independent library.
His departure left the role of Interim Executive Director open as they continue to search for the right person to fill the role permanently. Meriça Whitehall, who had most recently been serving as the Interim Chief Operating Officer, was then named to fill the role.
In speaking of change in leadership, Rob said, “I’ve worked very closely with Meriça these past few months while she served as our Interim Chief Operating Officer, and I can say with confidence that Hugo House couldn’t be better off. She’s truly marvelous.” He went on to say,
It has been an honor to serve our community by leading Hugo House through its public reckoning with racial equity and helping to implement lasting change in our beloved organization. I know Hugo House will have a bright future with fresh leadership.
We look forward to seeing the great things that will come from Huge House in the future as well!
Maybe this is due to concerns over other timely threats (the economy, foreign military conflicts, the rising cost of living) or sheer fatigue from being on guard for so long. Or maybe it’s because respected health organizations like the WHO have announced that the end of the pandemic is near. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause.
But regardless of what’s driving it, most of society seems to be largely ignoring COVID at this point. People are gathering with friends and loved ones, traveling again for leisure and for business, and expecting that in-person events are going to be held like they were before. Office work may continue to be remote or hybrid, but in all other areas we are back to a face-to-face culture.
This perspective shift is important for nonprofit organizations to understand if they are going to continue to be effective, and here's why:
Cinematically, it is poignant and stirring, but we soon find out that he has not made proper preparations for his departure, including finding a safe place for the iconic ring of power.
Unlike Bilbo, I often think about how to “leave well” because of my role as an Interim Executive Director. But regardless of whether you are an entry-level or executive hobbit, leaving well is a valuable skill to develop.
I like the focus on racism vs. DEI. I've always felt the DEI approach was too squishy and had way too many off-ramps to be effective. That said, the mission of a nonprofit typically isn't to dismantle institutional racism. It's to feed the hungry, house the homeless, educat[e] the children, bring art and culture into our lives, etc. Its effectiveness is measured in how well it executes on its mission. If a food bank with a ‘white’ management structure feeds twice as many people than one with an ‘anti-racism’ management structure, which is the more effective nonprofit? How important is it to the people being served how the nonprofit management is structured? Don't get me wrong I don't have any patience or apologies for nonprofits that operate in a way that excludes anyone, and yes, the vestiges of racism go deeper than whether white employees use the n-word or overtly marginalize their co-workers of color. I just feel that leaving the purpose and mission of the nonprofit out of the conversation is an oversight and relegates this work to an ancillary position instead of mission critical.”
One of the authors of the article, our own Dave Lenox, addressed that feedback in saying:
We hear you! We are hearing these exact sentiments from clients across sectors. What we do NOT want is for DEI efforts to be seen as a reason to stop serving the people (or environment, or animals, for that matter) that we were formed to serve. It will take all of us working together to address systemic and unconscious bias. But we can't stop the important work of helping in other ways while we do that!
That comment and the response broach a really critical topic: have today’s hot button topics like anti-racism, diversity, equity, and politics gone too far? Or, more specifically, have the focus on these topics sidetracked well-intentioned nonprofits from their primary missions, thereby reducing their effectiveness?
After being with KMHS for four years, serving first as Development Director and later as CFO and then COO, Monica has accepted the board’s offer to move into the CEO role. In speaking about the opportunity Monica stated, “I'm really excited. The CEO prior to me, Joe Roszak, has left quite a legacy to follow. I don't see us doing something completely new. What I see us doing is really building on a lot of the great initiatives that have already started here.”
The most shocking part about that excerpt is that the article was written in January of 2020. This goes to show that rapid change in the nonprofit space was happening long before the pandemic hit. And in today’s post-COVID world, change has only accelerated further.
In fact, recent research from Ernst & Young in collaboration with Oxford University indicates that 85% of senior leaders have been involved in two or more major organizational transformations over the last 5 years, with 67% of those surveyed indicating that at least one of the transformations they have been a part of has underperformed relative to expectations.
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