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Executive director of a regional nonprofit educational foundation

Job Title and Job Description

Executive director of a regional nonprofit educational foundation

A director of a small nonprofit organization wears many hats: program manager, budget and finance director, marketing and communications director, development (fundraising) director, and sometimes general office manager. My job is to oversee the four major programs run by the Education Foundation, manage a staff of three, and be the visionary spokesperson and liaison with the board of directors. This job requires flexible thinking, ability to work well with a wide range of people, a strategic outlook, and probably most important, good communication skills. I like the range of issues I deal with, the ability to make an impact in our region, and the connections I‘ve made throughout the community.

What are some related career opportunities and job titles in your company or in your career area?

Nonprofit management is a broad area that focuses on management skills unique to nonprofit organizations, such as working with a board of directors or trustees, and the necessity of fundraising (grantwriting, annual campaigns, etc.). Public administration or business administration would be similar, but public administration doesn‘t rely on fundraising and business administration is more market-driven than mission-driven.

What new technology will be important?

Nonprofit management is a "people" skills field, so technology that helps people connect with each other and understand information will be important. One of the big areas is fundraising applications that help identify and track prospects.

What education or training did you have to prepare for this career?

There isn‘t a direct career path for this field. I have a master‘s degree in health policy and management and worked in health care policy and community education program management for many years. In college I majored in psychology with a concentration in social psychology research.

What education or training do you recommend for students today who want to enter this field?

This is a liberal arts position. A good background in history and social studies, English, math and science are all helpful. A master‘s degree and experience in some type of nonprofit management (or business, health care, education, public policy), teaching, or even social work would be good training.

When you were in high school, did you know that you would enter this field?

No, when I was in high school I planned to be a psychologist.

Skills Profile

Skills UsedRating (5=Most Important thru
1=Not Important)
Comments

Artistic 2-Less Important2-Less Important 
Athletic / Physical 1-Not Important 
Bilingual 1-Not Important  
Computer Technology 3-Somewhat Important3-Somewhat Important3-Somewhat Important 
Coordination / Using Hands, Tools, and Equipment 1-Not Important 
Creative Thinking 5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important 
Interpersonal 5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important 
Investigative / Fact Finding 4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important 
leadership and Supervising 5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important 
Logical Thinking 5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important 
Math 4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important 
Mechanical Understanding 1-Not Important 
Sales and Negotiation 4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important 
Scientific and Experimental 3-Somewhat Important3-Somewhat Important3-Somewhat Important 
Social Service / Helping Skills 4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important 
Teaching / Instructing 4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important4-Very Important 
Verbal Communication 5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important 
Understanding Nature, Plants, Animals 1-Not Important 
Understanding Yourself 3-Somewhat Important3-Somewhat Important3-Somewhat Important 
Writing 5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important5-Most Important 
 

Interview By: Susan S.