Nonprofit Executive (Executive Director or Chief Executive)

When you’re the executive director or CEO of a nonprofit, a lot depends on you.

Executives must implement a cohesive and thoughtful organizational strategy, be your organization’s public image, inspire and motivate engagement with donors, effectively lead your staff, and have a solid financial management understanding. The list goes on…

That’s a lot to ask of any one individual. And it’s just one of the reasons why your partnership with your board is so critical.

Boards — and the individuals that compose them — provide a powerful opportunity to access skill sets and expertise that greatly expand an organization’s networks, expertise, and reputational capital at the highest level of leadership. But to truly leverage those talents, a board needs to understand its role and respect and value the partnership and leadership of the executive.

You — as the executive — have a critical role to play in making that partnership work. But you don’t have to do it alone. BoardSource is here to help. The following are some critical resources to support you in your role as chief architect of your partnership with your board. You’ll find many more in the Topics and Resources and Solutions areas of this website as well as in our Store.

Resources for Chief Executives

The Nonprofit Chief Executive’s Ten Basic Responsibilities

This publication discusses all of the CEO’s responsibilities, including supervising staff, overseeing operations, and supporting the board. The ten responsibilities serve as benchmarks and guideposts for those executives who want to explore specific aspects of their responsibilities in greater depth.


Executive Retreat

Join other nonprofit EDs and CEOs for a collaborative and restorative 3-day executive retreat that will provide a “safe” place for sharing and learning.

Engage a Governance Coach as a Trusted Advisor

Our coaching services offer individualized or group support and guidance on board governance practices or leadership dynamics. A BoardSource coach offers flexible support and advice when it’s needed most.

Leadership Certificate for Nonprofit Chief Executives

Whether you are a new nonprofit CEO or executive director, or a seasoned leader, you will learn practical approaches to some of the most challenging aspects of being the chief executive through this certificate program.

Board-Staff Partnership: How to Share Leadership & Get Results

This seminar is designed for nonprofit leaders who are working to deepen and strengthen the board-staff partnership. Work to create a strong foundation for positive organizational culture and clarify expectations to get results through shared leadership

Board Self-Assessment

The BSA is a valuable resource for any nonprofit chief executive looking to motivate board members and lay the foundation for setting board development priorities — individually and collectively — to strengthen the full board’s governance performance and practices.