Sample job description: Executive Director

This job description reflects the duties and responsibilities of an Executive Director who oversees the work of other staff. In some organizations, the Executive Director will be the only staff person and will be responsible for doing all the tasks, fundraising, and volunteer management.

Other Title: Chief Executive Officer

Reporting relationships

The title that the position reports to and the title of the role(s) that reports to it.

Hours of work

The number and nature of expected work hours. Examples include full-time, part-time, traditional business hours, occasional or frequent evenings and/or weekends, and the length of the position’s work term, such as permanent, temporary, or seasonal.

Job purpose

The Executive Director is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the organization according to the strategic direction set by the Board of Directors.

Primary duties and responsibilities

The Executive Director performs some or all the following:

Leadership

  • Participate with the Board of Directors in developing a vision and strategic plan to guide the organization.
  • Proactively identify, assess, and inform the Board of Directors of internal and external issues that affect the organization.
  • Act as a professional advisor to the Board of Director on all aspects of the organization’s activities
  • Foster effective teamwork between the Board and the Executive Director and between the Executive Director and staff.
  • In addition to the Chair of the Board, act as a spokesperson for the organization
  • Conduct official correspondence on behalf of the Board as appropriate and jointly with the Board when appropriate.
  • Represent the organization at community activities to enhance the organization’s community profile.

Operational planning and management

  • Develop an operational plan which incorporates goals and objectives that work towards the strategic direction of the organization.
  • Ensure that the operation of the organization meets the expectations of its clients, Board and Funders.
  • Oversee the efficient and effective day-to-day operation of the organization.
  • Draft policies for the approval of the Board and prepare procedures to implement the organizational policies; review existing policies on an annual basis and recommend changes to the Board as appropriate.
  • Ensure that personnel, client, donor and volunteer files are securely stored, and privacy/confidentiality is maintained.
  • Provide support to the Board by preparing meeting agenda and supporting materials.

Program planning and management

  • Oversee the planning, implementation and evaluation of the organization’s programs and services.
  • Ensure that the programs and services offered by the organization contribute to the organization’s mission and reflect the priorities of the Board.
  • Monitor the day-to-day delivery of the programs and services of the organization to maintain or improve quality.
  • Oversee the planning, implementation, execution and evaluation of special projects.

Human resources planning and management

  • Determine staffing requirements for organizational management and program delivery.
  • Oversee the implementation of the human resources policies, procedures and practices, including the development of job description for all staff.
  • Establish a positive, healthy and safe work environment in accordance with all appropriate legislation and regulations.
  • Recruit, interview and select staff that have the right technical and personal abilities to help further the organization’s mission.
  • Ensure that all staff receive an orientation to the organization and that appropriate training is provided.
  • Implement a performance management process for all staff which includes monitoring the performance of staff on an ongoing basis and conducting an annual performance review.
  • Coach and mentor staff as appropriate to improve performance.
  • Discipline staff when necessary using appropriate techniques; release staff when necessary using appropriate and legally defensible procedures.

Financial planning and management

  • Work with staff and the Board (Finance Committee) to prepare a comprehensive budget.
  • Work with the Board to secure adequate funding for the operation of the organization.
  • Research funding sources, oversee the development of fund-raising plans and write funding proposals to increase the funds of the organization.
  • Participate in fundraising activities as appropriate.
  • Approve expenditures within the authority delegated by the Board.
  • Ensure that sound bookkeeping and accounting procedures are followed.
  • Administer the funds of the organization according to the approved budget and monitor the monthly cash flow of the organization.
  • Provide the Board with comprehensive, regular reports on the revenues and expenditure of the organization.
  • Ensure that the organization complies with all legislation covering taxation and withholding payments.

Community relations/advocacy

  • Communicate with stakeholders to keep them informed of the work of the organization and to identify changes in the community served by the organization.
  • Establish good working relationships and collaborative arrangements with community groups, funders, politicians, and other organizations to help achieve the goals of the organization.

Risk management

  • Identify and evaluate the risks to the organization’s people (clients, staff, management, volunteers), property, finances, goodwill, and image and implement measures to control risks.
  • Ensure that the Board of Directors and the organization carries appropriate and adequate insurance coverage.
  • Ensure that the Board and staff understand the terms, conditions and limitations of the insurance coverage.

Qualifications

Education

University or College degree in a related field, such as law, social work, human resources, finance, marketing, management or leadership, or equivalent experience

Professional designation

None

Knowledge, skills, and abilities

  • Knowledge of leadership and management principles as they relate to nonprofit/voluntary organizations.
  • Knowledge of all federal and provincial legislation applicable to voluntary sector organizations, including employment standards, human rights, occupational health and safety, charities, taxation, CPP, EI, and health coverage.
  • Knowledge of current community challenges and opportunities relating to the mission of the organization.
  • Knowledge of human resources management
  • Knowledge of financial management
  • Knowledge of project management
  • Proficiency in the use of computers for:
    • Word processing.
    • Financial management, spreadsheets.
    • E-mail.
    • Internet.

Behavioural competencies

The Executive Director should demonstrate competence in some or all the following:

  • Adaptability: Demonstrate a willingness to be flexible, versatile, and tolerant in a changing work environment while maintaining effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Ethical behaviour: Understand ethical behaviour and business practices and ensure that your own behaviour and the behaviour of others is consistent with these standards and aligns with the organization's values.
  • Relationship development: Establish and maintain positive working relationships with others internally and externally to achieve the organization’s goals.
  • Effective communication: Speak, listen, and write in a clear, thorough, and timely manner using appropriate and effective communication tools and techniques.
  • Creativity and/or innovation: Develop new and unique ways to improve the organization’s operations and create new opportunities.
  • Client focus: Anticipate, understand, and respond to the needs of internal and external clients to meet or exceed their expectations within organizational parameters.
  • Teamwork development: Work cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problems, and make decisions that enhance organizational effectiveness.
  • Leadership: Positively influence others to achieve results that are in the best interest of the organization.
  • Decision-making: Assess situations to determine the importance, urgency, and risks and make clear decisions that are timely and in the organization’s best interests.
  • Organization: Set priorities, develop a work schedule, monitor progress towards goals, and track details, data, information, and activities
  • Planning: Determine strategies to move the organization forward, set goals, create, and implement action plans, and evaluate the process and results.
  • Problem-solving: Assess problem situations to identify causes, gather and process relevant information, generate possible solutions, make recommendations, and resolve the problem.
  • Strategic thinking: Assesses options and actions based on trends and conditions in the environment and the organization’s vision and values.

Experience

Five or more years of progressive management experience in a voluntary sector organization.

Working conditions

  • Executive Directors usually work in an office environment, but the organization’s mission may sometimes take them to non-standard workplaces.
  • Executive Directors work a standard work week but will often work evening, weekends, and overtime hours to accommodate board meetings and represent the organization at public events.

Compensation

Compensation for the position should be stated clearly including the position’s wage or salary, whether as a range or band, and any other direct compensation that the position is eligible for such as bonus pay or overtime pay. Benefits such as vacation, health insurance, pension, and other key employment policies can also be included in the job description, whether through links to relevant policies or detailed in full.

Benchmarks

Equity clause

We provide equal employment opportunity for all applicants and employees and do not discriminate on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by local law.

We particularly encourage applications from Black people, Indigenous people, and people of colour, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2+ community and those with varied areas of expertise and lived experiences.

Accessibility clause

We welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

Important: Ensure multiple contact options are provided (such as phone and email).

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