Thoughts on recruiting the nonprofit leaders of the future
“Dear Nina, We’re contacting you about a special opportunity.”
What is it?, I wonder. A line of artist-designed protest masks? A global coalition to reimagine the cultural sector? An unrestricted grant?
Nope. It’s a recruitment email for a nonprofit executive director search. Another one.
I used to engage with these emails. I’d write long responses sharing bios of brilliant Black women and women of color. But after a couple years in which these potential candidates were either ignored or dismissed as “not ready,” I gave up. I started hitting delete.
I’m still getting them every week. And in the past month, I can’t bring myself to look away. It’s not that the emails have changed — it’s that they haven’t. No mention of COVID-19. No mention of anti-racist uprisings. No mention of a cultural sector on the brink. It’s a rare form of doom-scrolling to read these sunny, formulaic emails seeking candidates for an “exciting opportunity to build on our organization’s history and redefine its…
I have the profound privilege to experience COVID-19 as a source of stress, not crisis. My family is healthy and able to shelter in place. My organization is well-funded enough to support our staff and continue our work. Like most folks, I feel waves of panic and fear. But my primary emotion is gratitude.
There are many, many people who don’t have my privileges right now. …
When you’re starting a new nonprofit organization, you tend to focus on the mission. The programs. How you’ll do good in the world. But there’s another thing that matters to your success: how you work as a team.
We never planned to post the OF/BY/FOR ALL employee handbook publicly, but we included it with a recent job posting, and lots of people remarked on it. So we’ve decided to share it — with acknowledgement that this is very much a work in progress.
You can read the OF/BY/FOR ALL staff handbook right now, here.
Where did this come from? It came from our desire to find a new way of working in a small nonprofit committed to inclusive change. …