Nonprofit Financial Commons Seeks First Executive Director!
What we do: The Nonprofit Financial Commons (NFC) is a new national knowledge and field-building network of financial leaders of nonprofits who share strategies, practices, resources, and tools, and provide mutual support across boundaries of geography, field of practice, and size. The network and its platforms inform the financial options of individual nonprofits and advance knowledge and practice in nonprofits and funding communities—all while integrating equity and inclusion in all we do.
Why it matters: Nonprofit leaders need a reliable way to get strategic and practical advice on the complex particulars of their business models and operating environments—in real time and based on the reality of their day-to-day working lives. Advice and research on nonprofit finance abounds, but much is of marginal use in a crunch because of the absence of the contexts and quirks of the financial lives of nonprofits—and not much addresses the underinvestment in communities of color and the nonprofits that serve them. Peer advice is available regionally but not often vetted for reliability. Financial leaders also seek a forum to talk about and receive support for the unique roles they play in organizations—where they can be embraced by a community of those who deeply understand both the joys and challenges of nonprofit financial leadership.
The Financial Commons, a national, peer-led network, supports a community of nonprofit finance leaders and others to share knowledge, ideas, and experiences. It also supports those with mutual interest in acting as advocates and change agents for the field of nonprofit finance.
- We value democratic participation, reflective practice, and knowledge that is accurate and reflects the urgent work of nonprofit financial leaders.
- In the Financial Commons, every voice is heard. Each participant is a teacher and a learner in a community where we value inquiry, learning from a thoughtful and dynamic mix of practice and research. We emphasize centering the knowledge in the field, including from individuals and organizations whose knowledge is historically undervalued.
- The Commons values learning while doing, which requires strong and diverse curation. It also exists to identify model practices, to challenge practice, policy, and regulatory frameworks, and to co-create new standards of excellence and effectiveness.
What we are achieving now:
Nonprofit Financial Commons builds on its users’ knowledge and learning needs, producing highly attended, monthly webinars on both practical and strategic financial issues. NFC hosts moderated, web-based forums for peers in the nonprofit financial community and curates a resource library of articles, research, tools, and templates. With nearly 5,000 participants, NFC’s key goal is to become the “go-to place for all things nonprofit financial.”
More about NFC is at the end of this announcement and at https://nonprofitfinancials.org.
As a new nonprofit, the board of directors seeks a dynamic leader who can take NFC from its founding years to a nationally recognized intermediary for nonprofit financial learning, resources, and connection. The leader will ideally have spent time in the nonprofit trenches as a financial practitioner while also cultivating a field-wide view of the sector’s financial challenges, needs, and areas for growth and change. The leader will have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including the ability to work effectively with people of diverse races, ethnicities, nationalities, sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, ages, and physical abilities in a multicultural environment.
The leader will cultivate relationships with our network of primary users, develop strategic partnerships with other intermediaries, partner with a dynamic and purpose-driven board, and be a strategic communicator and sense-maker to funders and other stakeholders.
The leader should excel at change and growth management as NFC moves from a founder-led organization to a staffed organization accountable to its audience of nonprofit financial leaders.
Summary of position: The executive director will steward an engaged community of learners, staff, and field-based partners focused on learning together about nonprofit financial management and strategy—while managing the growth and sustainability of the organization that hosts the platform for its user-community.
Classification: Full-time/exempt. Flexible hours.
Compensation: $150,000, with a generous benefits package.
Location: Remote organization with travel required to meet with team members, partners, funders and attend conferences.
Manage growth of a purpose-driven startup nonprofit:
- Develop a sustainable organization that can balance program implementation with right-sized staffing/resourcing while paying equitable and thriving wages.
- Ensure appropriate infrastructure in parallel with program growth.
- Inspire network growth that is member-driven.
- Partner with the board to develop and manage a constituent-driven “engaged governance” model.
Lead on strategy and impact:
- Ensure vision, mission, and values are integrated into strategy.
- Translate strategy into annual operations plans with measurable goals.
- Implement strategy in a remote environment understanding how technology and participatory platforms can advance the work of the organization.
- Continually test and improve strategy and goals by ensuring feedback loops from stakeholders, board, and staff.
- Ensure the organization is focused on the right metrics vis-à-vis its program, financial, and user-engagement measures.
- Adapt or generate strategy/goals based upon continuous learning and data collection.
Lead resourcing and fund development planning and implementation:
- Lead, with board support, fund development planning and implementation, including continuous donor engagement.
- Expand earned income strategies and revenue.
- Continuously strengthen NFC social capital by building networks, partnerships, and strong ties to leverage capacity.
Serve as lead networker:
- Engage with and listen to all NFC’s key audiences—learning from them, supporting their leadership in various parts of the NFC system, embodying the NFC values of being both “a teacher and a learner,” and ensuring those whose voices have traditionally been undervalued are heard.
- Oversee the development of a comprehensive strategic communications plan that supports NFC’s strategy, including the growth of an engaged virtual learning community.
- Act as the key spokesperson with donors, with the media, at conferences, and in other venues while engaging others to become spokespeople as well.
Manage resources and finances:
- Create processes for financial strategy and management that are team-based, ensuring equity and racial justice screens are incorporated into decision-making.
- Oversee and, when necessary, monitor accounting and related reporting functions, compliance, checks and balances, timely reporting, and transparency.
- Develop 3-year financial projections that reflect strategy, program goals, infrastructure requirements, and ability to resource.
Build and maintain a healthy organizational culture:
- Ensure values are alive and underscore day-to-day work.
- Build authentic healthy communications among staff to leverage teamwork and productivity.
- Oversee the annual goals and performance metrics for staff.
- Manage and continually improve systems for effective check-ins, formal periodic supervision, and performance reviews.
- Oversee contract fulfillment for contracted positions and vendors ensuring values alignment and other accountability on behalf of the board of directors.
- The leader should be endlessly curious about what drives nonprofit success and deeply passionate about the nonprofit sector.
- Commitment to the mission, vision, and values of the Nonprofit Financial Commons and the nonprofit sector.
- Proven “walks the talk” leadership on racial and economic justice integration into an organization’s DNA.
- Enthusiasm for participating in team-based, hands-on work to support the development of a startup nonprofit.
- Demonstrated accomplishment in a leadership role.
- Minimum 5 years hands-on experience as a financial leader with a knowledge of nonprofit accounting practices, regulations, principles, and strategy.
- Experience managing people and processes in a remote environment.
- Fund development/donor cultivation experience preferred.
- Ability to distribute leadership activating the knowledge and skills of others.
- Excellent interpersonal and collaboration skills, with the confidence to interact effectively with all people.
- Agile, adaptive thinker with the capacity to identify the evolving needs of NFC as an organization.
- Experience with and excitement for the principles, tools, and dynamics of knowledge-building platforms.
- Ability to identify trending topics and needed conversations in the sector.
- Willingness and ability to travel nationally.
- Familiarity with MS Office Suite
Physical demands/work environment: We recognize that qualified applications will include a range of people who will each require different support to be successful. The physical demands for this position are those of a typical remote work environment. The ability to sit and stand in front of a computer screen is an essential aspect of the position as well as occasional air/train travel. Reasonable accommodation will be made to enable individuals to perform work functions.
More About the Nonprofit Financial Commons
In late 2020, founding partners Propel Nonprofits, Nonprofit Quarterly, and Fiscal Management Associations (now BDO), under the leadership of Kate Barr, Ruth McCambridge, Hilda Polanco, and others, met to explore an opportunity to create a user-driven, free knowledge platform for nonprofit financial leaders across the nation.
Before moving forward with a design, we asked those financial leaders what they saw as the needs for such a platform. As a result, 700 nonprofit leaders and 300 consultants and philanthropists responded to a survey about the need for an entity like the NFC. Of these, approximately 30 leaders participated in focus groups that deeply informed the formation of the NFC.
Yes, they wanted a learning platform for financial leaders to exist, and they were crystal clear about a few founding principles: 1) that the NFC should focus on facilitating peer advice; 2) that this advice is facilitated and curated so they can quickly get to what they need, with assurance that responses are vetted for reliability; and 3) that all our work advance issues of justice and equity.
Participants stressed that due to the uncertainties embedded in the operating environment of nonprofits, NFC would have to be a place of not just practical but also emotional support. As a result, an emphasis was placed on building a reliable, authoritative go-to resource where financial leaders could be in touch with and receive support from peers who deeply understand the demands and pressures experienced by nonprofit financial leaders.
In 2022, we formed NFC’s first governance and content advisory groups, comprising nonprofit practitioners, leaders of other capacity building groups, academics focused on nonprofit financial research, and philanthropists. Our first board of directors includes: Carlo Cuesta, David Renz, Lissette Rodriguez, Vernetta Walker, and Marvin Webb—each making significant contributions to content, governance design, communication, and funding strategies.
Last fall, NFC’s web platform went online, and before year-end, three webinars with over 800 registrants each took place. We hired moderators to support learning engagement during the webinars and afterwards in forums. An engagement specialist joined full-time in early 2023 to support communications and ongoing engagement strategies.
Today, NFC boasts nearly 5,000 participants and offers monthly learning events focused on practical and strategic financial issues, a robust resource library, a periodic newsletter highlighting important research, articles, and current news from the field of nonprofit financial management, and more.
NFC is not your average startup. As a new player in the national nonprofit infrastructure firmament—building our first cadre of paid staff—we seek the right leader who will support the actualization of NFC soon becoming the “go-to place for nonprofit financial learning and resources.”