7 Nonprofit New CEO and Executive Leadership Questions with Mike Coffman

Betty and Mike, to be successful in our life your spouse needs to be dedicated to what you do.

Name: Mike Coffman

Number of years as a CEO or Executive: 10 years

Current Title: Retired

Mike worked with Boy & Girls Clubs for over 53 years holding various titles include CEO or Executive Director. He worked as Regional Service Director with Boys & Girls Clubs of America for over 24 years until his retirement. Regional Service Directors are the connection between local organizations and the national office. RSDs are a thought and accountability partner, coach, mentor, and organizational development consultant that work with the Club CEO and Board of Directors. In retirement, Mike has served as an Interim CEO at various Clubs helping organizations in crisis.

1. What advice would you give to professionals who have taken on a CEO or executive role for the first time?

Learn about your organization’s board of directors, interview each one with specific questions based on what you know about your organization.

2. What is your best advice to navigate the first 90 days?

Meet your staff and introduce yourself, your experience, your expectations, and your support of their work.

3. What is your best advice on how to work with the board?

Develop a personal file on each board member based on your interview, learn about their expectations, what they know or have been told about their service, what are they committed to do, try to develop a work plan to include each of them in some form of oversight, fundraising, and community relations. Meet privately with them to discuss the above.

4. What is your best advice on leading a team?

Lead by example, complete an orientation of the program staff to ensure that they are informed of your goals, your expectations, and your program philosophy, and explain how you will measure their performance over time.

5. What is your best fundraising advice?

Develop a balanced plan that includes the board of directors as a major partner in raising funds, lean on fellow professionals with proven experience to counsel you, if you are with a national organization use the resources that they can provide. If not, there are a lot of online resources you can use. Identify your major supporters and meet with them as soon as your time allows, thank them for their support try to determine their opinion of your organization and to what degree will they support your organization.

6. Share your greatest failure as a CEO and executive and the lesson learned. We often learn the most from our failures.

Hiring for a position of need without taking the time to research the person hired. Effective hiring is a science, develop reasonable job descriptions for every position and hire to the need, not the vacancy. Things that were not fully developed in a very bad hire.

7. Recommended reading. What book helped you on your journey?

The Perfect Nonprofit by Kevin Bingham & Dave Condon

I hope this helps. Let me know. Sharing is caring.

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Thank you to those nonprofit CEO and Executive Directors who’ve generously done the 7 questions!

I hope reading 7 Questions with Mike Coffman helps you in your nonprofit journey.

Your mission matters,

Sabrina Walker Hernandez

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