Choosing the right executive is critical for the success and growth of a not-for-profit organisations, given today’s competitive market.

Trend 1:

Not-for-profit sector experience no longer mandatory

We’ve found increasing porosity or a blurring of conventional boundaries, between the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in Australia.

There are now more than 600,000 not-for profit organisations in Australia. Also referred to as the ‘community sector’ or ‘third sector’, a vast range of these organisations are by nature neither commercial businesses or public sector entities. Today they encompass many endeavors — professional services, health, human service delivery, education, social welfare and religion, to name just a few.

For this reason, not-for-profit organisations often benefit greatly from the commercial skills brought by a CFO, human resources director or a business development manager with deep experience in the private sector.

Similarly, executives with strong skills from the public sector provide a valuable contribution to not-for-profits that are highly regulated or have close funding relationships with government.

Trend 2:

Cultural misalignment is more disruptive than insufficient technical skills

Increasingly, search assignments in the not-for-profit sector require candidates with not only the relevant technical and work experience, but also the right cultural fit.

This can’t be overstated. It is critical for shortlisted candidates, particularly in theC-suite, to be able to demonstrate how their values closely align with those of their prospective new employer and how they will be able to credibly represent and embody that organisation to stakeholders.

Trend 3:

Not-for-profit board members take hands-on approach during recruitment process

A third trend to emerge is for not-for-profit Board members to sit in on the interview panel, not just for CEO roles, but also for roles at the next level.

They are taking more vested interest in ensuring those who join the organisation are the best choice.

This has a three-fold advantage. It demonstrates valuable Board support to the CEO during a possibly unsettling process. It also raises the shortlisted candidates ’awareness of the individuals who are charged with the organisation’s governance. And it gives that same candidate a stronger sense of the organisation’s strategic direction.

This levelof support is not always reflected in private sector organisations, even  those of a similar size to a not-for-profit organisation.

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Kym Fletcher