Cover image for The executive director's survival guide : thriving as a nonprofit leader
The executive director's survival guide : thriving as a nonprofit leader
Carlson, Mim, 1950-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxix, 257 pages ; 25 cm.
Finding your way as executive director -- Succeeding in this big job -- What are the roles and responsibilities of an executive director? -- What is the difference between a leader and a manager? -- When should an executive director lead, manage, or support others? -- Developing as an executive director -- How does an executive director find the time for professional development, and what opportunities are available? -- What is an executive coach and how does an executive director find one? -- How does mentoring work for an executive director, and who makes a good mentor? --When the going gets really tough, how does an executive director stay inspired ? -- Finding balance in the role of executive director -- Why are executive directors so susceptible to burnout? -- How can I find balance as an executive director? -- How do I set boundaries on my work life so I still have a personal life? -- Where do I find the time to do everything an executive director has to do and prioritize all my tasks? -- How can an executive director delegate when everyone is already busy? -- Executive director as visionary -- Understanding nonprofit organizational culture -- What does organizational culture mean? -- How does understanding the organization's culture make the executive director more effective? -- How does an executive director determine what the organization's culture is? -- What are some strategies for changing or moving an organization's culture to where it needs to be in order to be successful? -- Creating and sustaining a vision -- What is a vision and why is it important? -- What are ways for an executive director to articulate and develop a shared organizational vision? -- Why is planning important to the vision process in a nonprofit, and what is the executive director's role in this process? -- If you're always in crisis or catch-up mode as an executive director, how do you find time to plan? -- Determining organizational effectiveness -- What does an effective nonprofit organization look like? -- How soon after starting should the executive director start to examine the organization's effectiveness? -- How does an executive director tie personal performance and effectiveness to that of the organization? -- What happens if the board and executive director determine the organization is no longer effective? -- Executive director as change agent -- Embracing a changing nonprofit environment -- Why is change synonymous with the identity of the nonprofit sector? -- How are the lines that have traditionally defined the business and nonprofit sectors changing? -- What are the new demands for accountability and measurable outcomes? -- Understanding changing life cycle stages in nonprofits -- What life cycle stage is my organization in? -- What skills does an executive director need in each stage? -- Leading organizational change -- How can executive directors help their nonprofits embrace a healthy change process? -- What is the executive director's role and that of the board, other staff, and volunteers in a change process? -- How soon after a new executive director is hired should a change process begin?
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD62.6 .C266 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Executive Director's Survival Guide provides new insight, inspiration, and tools to meet the real life challenges and rewards of leading a nonprofit organization--and to thrive in this big job. Written by Mim Carlson and Margaret Donohoe, experienced nonprofit professionals and consultants on nonprofit leadership, this vital resource will give you the help you need to develop and strengthen personal, interpersonal and organizational effectiveness. It is filled with practical advice for succeeding in the position and offers a reader-friendly question and answer format.

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Author Notes

Mim Carlson and Margaret Donohoe have focused their experience, insight, and energy on helping the new generation of nonprofit leaders navigate the many opportunities and challenges of being an Executive Director. The insight they provide is not just academic or theoretical: it comes from their own careers in the sector. They each draw on over twenty years of hands-on experience as Executive Directors, Interim Executive Directors, Board members, and now Leadership and Transition Consultants.

Table of Contents

The Authors
Part 1 Finding Your Way as Executive Director
Chapter 1 Succeeding in This Big Job
Chapter 2 Developing as an Executive Director
Chapter 3 Find Balance in the Role of Executive Director
Part 2 Executive Director as Visionary
Chapter 4 Understanding Nonprofit Organizational Culture
Chapter 5 Creating and Sustaining a Vision
Chapter 6 Determining Organizational Effectiveness
Part 3 Executive Director as Change Agent
Chapter 7 Embracing a Changing Nonprofit Environment
Chapter 8 Understanding Changing Life Cycle Stages in Nonprofits
Chapter 9 Leading Organizational Change
Part 4 Executive Director as Relationship Builder
Chapter 10 Nurturing a Relationship with the Board
Chapter 11 Establishing Productive Staff Relationships
Chapter 12 Following the Founder
Part 5 Executive Director as Community Creator
Chapter 13 Engaging External Stakeholders
Chapter 14 Embracing Partnerships and Collaboration
Chapter 15 Ensuring Broad Representation
Part 6 Executive Director as Resource Wizard
Chapter 16 Ensuring Sound Financial Management
Chapter 17 Sustaining the Organization with Team-Based Fundraising
Part 7 Executive Director in Transition
Chapter 18 Moving On: Leading Your Own Career Transition
Chapter 19 Envisioning Your Next Career