Your first 30 days as a non-profit executive director are crucial in setting the stage for your tenure at the organization. Here are my recommendations on how to get started:
1. Insist on an independent audit of the organization. Some individuals affiliated with the organization, especially your accountant, may balk. Be persistent and insist on an independent audit of the organization’s finances. You need to understand the organization’s numbers. Hopefully you have an understanding of fiscal management, balance sheets, cash flow statements and accounting. If not, learn fast. A major responsibility as an executive director is to ensure sound fiscal management of the organization.
2. Meet as many people as possible including staff, board members, donors and sponsors, programmatic beneficiaries, and vendors. Meet with every one of your direct reports. Hold an organization-wide meeting with all staff. Meet with your board chair so that you understand the organization better.
3. Identify someone within the organization to help you plan and schedule your first 30 days at the organization. They can also serve as your mentor.
During your first 30 days, do not rely on your memory. Take copious notes. Review your notes so you absorb the information.
This is my advice as a new executive director at a nonprofit. Good Luck!
A very good article related to this blog: A First Time CEO – 5 Five Weeks In by Andy Harding