An executive director manages and directs the daily affairs of the organization. You will see to it that the organization is following its specified budget. You will also be working with the members of the board of directors who will help decide on the course which the organization will take.
Among the more important activities that executive directors—also known as EDs—do is fundraising. Nonprofits often rely on contributions and grants from donors to sustain their daily operations and keep important advocacies going. EDs head the organizing team for such important events. Even if you simply delegate the actual preparations, you must be on top of such matters as determining who gets included in the guest list, following up with possible donors to make sure that they attend and determining how much money is needed to be raised for the nonprofit’s proposed projects. You must also think of creative ways to promote the organization and its aims so that people and companies will be encouraged to donate to your cause.
As a top executive of the organization, your responsibilities will be similar to what a chief executive officer (CEO) does in a for-profit firm. You will be establishing your organization’s procedures, policies and goals. You will also be responsible for looking at the operational areas where efficiency can be enhanced and costs can be lessened. It is also part of your duty to negotiate with and enter into financial contracts with suppliers and other individuals, companies and organizations so you can carry out your programs and policies.
To succeed as an executive director, you need to have exceptional leadership and coordination skills since you will be managing both people and resources. You also need to be decisive since you will be evaluating and ultimately calling the shots on important matters. You also need to good at problem solving since all issues that your subordinates will not be able to solve will be passed on to you.
Why Become An Executive Director
A position as an executive director is obviously something to strive for especially if you want to lead an organization. Another reason to become an executive director is that it puts you in a position to implement your vision and strategy for a nonprofit while allowing you to work with a cause that is closest to your heart. This is a position which puts you in a very important position to really help others, which can be very satisfying. On the practical side, a career as an executive director is also one that gives good pay, unless you do it on a voluntary basis.
Executive directors typically work for nonprofit organizations, both large and small. The work schedule is often fulltime and done within the comfort of their offices, although travel may be required to visit regional offices or other areas in the world where they have operations. The work can become stressful, especially if the organization’s funds are running out and they have to look for funds so it can continue to remain in operation.
Executive Director Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have salary data specifically for executive directors. It does have salary information for the broader occupational category of top executives where executive directors can be categorized in. Top executives receive a mean annual wage of $121,010.
Executive Director Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have the projections specifically for executive directors. However, it does have the career outlook for top executives. The agency projected that their employment rate is set to increase 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, a rate that is about as fast as the average for all job types. The best job prospects will go to those who have advanced degrees and extensive experience.
Executive Director Degree
The minimum educational requirement to become an executive director is a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a business-related course. Other organizations may also prefer to hire someone who has an undergraduate degree in the field where they are operating in. Thus, nonprofits in the healthcare sector may hire a medical doctor who understands what the organization is doing. Postgraduate degrees, such as an MBA or a doctoral degree are going to increase chances of employment significantly. In addition to a postgraduate degree, aspiring executive directors must also have extensive managerial experience in the industry.