Nonprofit Interim executive director

A change in leadership is challenging for any organization, particularly nonprofit ones. Whether a highly successful Executive Director is leaving after 25 years or an unsuccessful one is leaving after just one year, nonprofit organizations can use the opportunity to build a solid foundation for years to come. An Interim Executive Director assumes a critical leadership role to provide stability, guidance, and the ample time required to effectively fill a vacant nonprofit Executive Director role. This can be a crucial component in building a strong foundation for the future.

Since 2007, Jeff Katz has served as a nonprofit Interim Executive Director for eight different organizations, each time resulting in an organizational turnaround and smooth transition to the next Executive Director.  

Benefits of Using an Interim Executive Director: Using an Interim Executive Director, typically for a period of 4-8 months, allows a nonprofit organization to make a thoughtful transition to a new leader. Benefits include:

  • Allowing clearly defined periods for an organization to go through the three periods of leadership change - saying goodbye to the old Executive Director, preparing the organization for new leadership, and welcoming the new leader.
  • Stabilizing the organization, addressing all immediate concerns such as grant deadlines, budgets, and reports to funders.
  • Creating an opportunity to look with fresh, objective eyes at all processes, systems, functional areas, and teams in an organization, such as fundraising and finances.
  • Sending a clear message to all stakeholders that the organization has chosen a methodical and thoughtful approach to transition.
  • Giving the nonprofit organization’s Board of Directors the time and opportunity to conduct a thoughtful search for the next Executive Director.

To better understand the value and the role of a nonprofit Interim Executive Director, read Interim Executive Directors: The Power in the Middle.

Sample Projects

VietAIDLed Vietnamese focused Community Development Corporation focused on affordable housing and operating childcare, after-school programs, and a community center. Reorganized finance department, hired key staff, rebuilt Board of Directors, repaired problems at community center, and refurbished building.

Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation- Led economic development corporation with $4 million operating budget, 25 employees and $150 million in assets. Reorganized development department and addressed lingering issues of infrastructure and information systems.

GROW Associates- Led $4 million agency serving people with developmental disabilities. Led successful search for permanent Executive Director. Laid groundwork for the organization to purchase its building for $6 million.

Creative Work Systems (Portland, Maine)- Led $12 million/350 employee organization serving people with developmental disabilities through significant executive transition. In 8 months, created new culture of collaboration and staff empowerment. Built new executive leadership team. Reorganized major systems throughout agency to streamline operations, create clear responsibilities, and decentralize decision making, while instilling accountability throughout organization.

Sunrise Foundation- Led Massachusetts based organization supporting a school in Camoapa, Nicaragua. Led turnaround of organization including building a well qualified and experienced board of directors, establishing professional management and financial procedures, and hiring a permanent Executive Director.