Non-Profit CEO Job Description

Leader With Telescope Looking to Future and Leading the Way

If you are considering a job in the non-profit sector, you may be wondering about the non-profit CEO job description. The name sounds important, but what exactly does a non-profit CEO do every day?

The CEO role comes under many names in the non-profit sector. CEO (Chief Executive Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), director, and executive director are all used across various organizations in this sector.  Depending on the organization and the level of operation (national, local chapter, etc) the role involves different duties.

The non-profit CEO job description may come as a surprise to people unfamiliar with the structure of such organizations. Since their duties and responsibilities are wildly different from a business CEO, the non-profit CEO job description encompasses a wide range of duties and responsibilities.

Administrative Responsibilities

One thing that may come as a surprise in the non-profit CEO job description is that the job requires someone with many different skills. To effectively run a non-profit, it is essential to be a solid leader and administrator.

The main duty of the CEO is to work with the board of directors to plan and execute policies. The board of directors is advised by the CEO and develops a mission. Once the mission is developed, the board decides on programming, fundraising goals, and a budget with which the executive director must run the non-profit.

The board of directors is the governing body of the organization. It oversees all financial and legal obligations. The executive director is the person who implements the decisions made by the board.

Day-To-Day Responsibilities

The non-profit CEO job description also includes the day-to-day responsibilities of the non-profit organization. This includes overseeing programming and staff.

The CEO is responsible for ensuring the staff work to advance the mission of the organization. They are the manager of the entire operation. In small non-profits, the CEO is usually in charge of scheduling and payroll. They are often in charge of hiring new staff alongside members of the board of directors.

Any issues that may arise with staff must be dealt with by the CEO as well. They are the first point of contact when a staff member may have an issue that needs to be addressed in a human resources capacity.


Part of the non-profit CEO job description is being in charge of fundraising for the organization. There may be a major gifts officer on staff, but they must report to the CEO. Generally, all strategic fundraising decisions must be approved through the CEO and board of directors.

Fundraising is critical to the financial well-being of the organization. Often fundraising determines the scope and availability of programming. Anyone seeking a career in a non-profit CEO position must understand the fundamental role it plays in the existence of the organization.

Managing The Budget

The non-profit CEO job description involves managing the budget of the organization. This includes anything from rental costs, transportation, overall programming costs, salaries, supplies, and any other administrative costs.

The CEO is responsible for ensuring that the administrative staff orders supplies in a timely fashion and pays bills and invoices on time. They decide along with the board if financial cuts are required in certain areas or if there is room for expansion in programming.

Ensuring there is a budget for the marketing and promotion of the organization also falls within the non-profit CEO job description. If the organization has a website, brochures, or other marketing materials, they must ensure the budget is spent appropriately for maximum benefit to the non-profit.

Community Engagement

A CEO of a non-profit is responsible for community engagement. This may mean promoting programming in the community. It often also includes networking with other CEOs and building working relationships.

Forming partnerships with organizations is part of the non-profit CEO job description. Offering combined programming and providing resources to help benefit the target population is essential. Hosting programming that can be attended by the participants of another non-profit is crucial to increasing the need for the organization. These numbers can help increase overall awareness of the non-profit’s mission and increase visibility in the community.

The Non-Profit CEO Job Description – Qualifications

It takes a well-rounded individual to truly thrive as the CEO of a non-profit. The role has many moving parts and juggling them while maintaining the finances and reputation of the organization is an art. Being able to multi-task and have exceptional leadership skills is essential to success in this role. A CEO position requires significant non-profit and management work experience.

Non-Profit CEOs play an integral role in the community. They often act as a link between multiple organizations, which provides a greater variety of services to the community. Their constant communication with a board of directors ensures that the operation runs smoothly and provides the best programming possible to the population they serve.

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