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Job Profile: Executive Director, Non-Profit Organization

Job Profile: Executive Director, Non-Profit Organization

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale, NonprofitPeople

Job Description

Management, business, and financial occupations. Chief executives in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations formulate policies and direct daily operations. In publicly held and nonprofit corporations, the board of directors ultimately is accountable for the success or failure of the enterprise, and the chief executive officer reports to the board. Chief executives perform a variety of duties depending the size of their association and how it is organized. In a larger association, they may direct a number of operations specialty managers, each of whom is responsible for part of the organization’s operations. In a small association, executives are likely to direct many or all of these functions themselves and be required to wear many hats at one time. The most common type of operations specialty managers in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations is social and community service managers, who plan, organize, or coordinate the activities of a social service program or community outreach organization. They oversee the program or organization’s budget and polices regarding participant involvement, program requirements, and benefits. Work may involve directing social workers, counselors, or probation officers. Larger organizations employ a variety of business and financial operations specialists. For example, accountants and auditors handle the financial affairs of an association. They also prepare financial statements, records, and reports. Accountants also contribute to fundraising efforts by figuring the costs of new programs and including those estimates in grant proposals. Larger organizations also may have human resources, training, and labor relations specialists.

Top executives and workers responsible for fundraising may travel frequently to meet with supporters and potential donors, often in evenings and on weekends. Fundraising can be highly stressful because the financial health of the organization depends on being successful. Workers employed in the delivery of social services also work in very stressful environments because many of their clients are struggling with a wide range of problems related to child care, child welfare, juvenile justice, addiction, health, unemployment, and inadequate workforce skills.

Salary Information

The Nonprofit Times Annual Salary Survey reported the following average total compensation in 2006:

Executive director- $149,427
Chief financial officer -97,248
Chief of direct marketing -89,032
Program director -80,228
Development director -76,770
- Planned giving officer & major gifts officer 73,325
Director of human resources -66,755
Web master- 57,085
Director of volunteers- 41,894


Education Requirements

Degrees in subjects such as social work, human services, gerontology, or one of the social or behavioral sciences meet most employers’ requirements.

As of 2006, more than 250 colleges and universities offered courses on the management of nonprofit organizations. In addition, about 70 programs offered noncredit courses in fundraising and nonprofit management and more than 50 programs offered continuing education courses. About 119 schools offered at least one course for undergraduate credit and more than 90 were affiliated with American Humanics (an alliance of colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations preparing undergraduates for careers with youth and human service agencies).

In 2006, there were more than 90 master’s degree programs, usually in business administration or in public administration, with a focus on nonprofit or philanthropic studies. About 160 colleges and universities had at least one course related to management of nonprofits within a graduate department. Of these programs, more than 110 offered a graduate degree with a concentration in the management of nonprofit organizations and about 40 offered one or two graduate courses, usually in financial management and generic nonprofit management.

Job Outlook

Wage and salary jobs in advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations are projected to increase 13 percent over the 2006-16 period.