DHR's Nonprofit Practice provides executive search and high level strategic consulting to a distinguished group of nonprofit clients.

DHR's Nonprofit Practice provides senior level retained executive search and leadership consulting services to a distinguished group of nonprofit organizations. Our mission, "to improve the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations world-wide," represents the consultative approach and commitment to establish mutually beneficial and long-term relationships with each of our clients. We believe that great leaders make great organizations that in turn help change the world.

Consultants in the Nonprofit Practice bring industry experience to all sectors of the field. Nonprofit clients include cultural organizations, international development and social service organizations, zoos and aquariums, gardens and arboreta, economic development organizations and trade association, foundations and educational organizations. Practice members have recruited the CEOs to many large regional and national organizations and work with a select group of international NGOs.

The Nonprofit Practice Group consists of industry specialists, many of whom have spent their entire careers working in nonprofits and/or assisting nonprofits with executive search. Each practice team member has direct professional experience in the management and governance of cultural institutions, social service, economic development, universities and other educational organizations, or civic entities.

In addition to executive search, our consultants have expertise in leadership consulting services, including planned and emergency succession planningA DHR survey of nonprofit board members and chief executives confirmed that four out of five nonprofit organizations agree that a succession plan is “important” or “very important.” Yet, less than one in five organizations surveyed have a succession plan in place. DHR helps organizations apply a proven process, working with board leadership and CEOs to develop a plan.

What Sets Us Apart

Are you considering retaining an executive search firm for your nonprofit? Below are several reasons to learn more about DHR’s Nonprofit Practice:

Only firm to guarantee search for 2 years, twice the industry standard

DHR’s Nonprofit Practice stands firmly behind the quality of every search we complete. Should any candidate no longer be employed within two years of hiring, we will conduct a new search for that position for no additional recruitment fee.

Only firm to offer the Market Analysis

A unique step in our executive search process is the Market Analysis, which is presented to the client very early in the search. This timely and comprehensive report includes notes on all potential candidates identified and every contact made to date, guaranteeing both a complete scan of the market and early slate of potential candidates.

Resources and reach of major firm

As a “top five” search firm with a national scope and local presence in more US cities than any other search firm, DHR’s Nonprofit Practice offers nonprofits of all types and sizes the resources and reach of a major executive search firm.

A dedicated practice group

Although we are a major international search firm, DHR’s Nonprofit Practice group is similar to a boutique firm in that we provide industry-based search expertise, customized services and personalized attention.

Record of success and industry expertise

With over 25 years of consecutive experience, the Nonprofit Practice leader- James Abruzzo- is the most senior executive search consultant to nonprofit institutions in the country. We have a record of success with a variety of nonprofit clients and are a leading executive compensation practice for nonprofits in the US.

Extensive network of industry contacts

DHR’s Nonprofit team maintains relationships with senior leaders in numerous types and functional areas of nonprofit organizations throughout the US. These relationships allow us to recruit from the top nonprofit executives in the field and to learn, from industry peers, who are the best nonprofit leaders in the field today.

Highly targeted and strategic senior executive searches

Although we have an extensive network in the industry, we do not rely solely upon existing contacts. New research is an essential step in every assignment, and we work closely with our clients to determine a highly targeted recruitment strategy.

The Nonprofit Search Process

Although each and every executive search assignment will be customized to the client’s unique situation, we have developed a “best practices” approach to providing nonprofit clients with the executive search assistance that they need.

The typical steps involved in a nonprofit executive search are outlined below.

Develop a Position Specification

We find it helpful to develop a broad understanding of the expectations of all stakeholders in the search process. This could involve a number of in-person and phone interviews with key constituents – for example, members of the Board, key staff, major funders and/or others as appropriate. Based on information gathered in these meetings and any existing list of candidate qualifications, we will draft a comprehensive position specification that represents the current and future leadership needs of the organization. The position specification will describe the role, title, reporting relationships, education, and experience required to meet the agreed upon performance criteria.

The informational meetings and finalized job description will guide us in developing the search strategy and recruiting potential candidates.

Identify Qualified Candidates

We will identify qualified potential candidates through our sources and candidate files, new research, and through conversations with individuals in the industry. Original research and a very targeted recruiting strategy are essential to finding professionals with the appropriate mix of qualifications, motivation, compensation level, and interest.

Very early in the search process, we provide clients with the Market Analysis, which includes a summary of potential candidates identified and notes on every contact made to date. This allows us to report our progress early on, inform the client of feedback we are receiving from the field, and receive feedback from the client on the preliminary candidates’ qualifications.

Interview and Present Qualified Candidates

We personally interview and evaluate all potential candidates. Based on interviews and preliminary references, we determine a short list of candidates to recommend for client interviews. We then assist the client in arranging personal interviews with each candidate and will help facilitate the decision-making process. In addition, we solicit feedback from each candidate to elicit further questions. All candidates are treated equally and all (whether internal or recruited candidates) participate in the same process.

Conduct Reference Checks

It is our practice to speak directly with individuals who are, or have been, in a position to evaluate the candidate's performance on the job. We rely upon information provided to us by those individuals. We also conduct background checks, including the verification of educational backgrounds.

Attract The Preferred Candidate

We work closely with the client to structure a compensation package that conforms to market standards and provides substantial incentives for the preferred candidate to accept the position. With our extensive experience in nonprofit compensation, we also regularly assist in negotiations.

March 2021

DHR and Jobplex Strengthen Nonprofit Expertise with Addition of Three Partners in North America

Global Executive Search firm DHR International and its wholly-owned Emerging Leader Search firm Jobplex are pleased to announce the expansion of the North American Nonprofit Practice Group with three new Partners. More >

January 2021 | White Papers

Succession Planning for Nonprofit Organizations

Preparing for planned and emergency nonprofit CEO transitions. The nonprofit CEO is critical to an organization’s success. While nonprofit CEOs usually enjoy lengthy tenures, transitions are inevitable. And the transition to a new leader can be problematic and expensive or an opportunity for positive change. More >

September 2020

Future Ready Leaders: Agility with Khori Dastoor

Our Future Ready Leaders series asks CEOs and other top leaders what it takes to be a successful leader now and as we prepare for the future. Here, Khori Dastoor, General Director of San Jose Opera, talks about the importance of agility in moving her organization forward during the pandemic. More >

January 2021

Abruzzo to Lead Nonprofit Succession Planning Initiative for DHR Leadership Consulting

DHR is pleased to announce James Abruzzo, the long-time global head of DHRs nonprofit executive search practice, is leading an initiative to support nonprofit organizations with their succession planning needs. More >

January 2021

Announcing the Launch of Search for Arts Leadership Podcast

James Abruzzo, Global Head of DHR International’s Global Nonprofit Practice, and his long-time friend and colleague in the field, corporate and arts communication consultant, Svenja Kluckow, have created and produced a podcast series on a subject they are both passionate about: arts leadership. More >