Non-profit Executive Search

Littleford & Associates conducts searches for heads and interim heads of independent schools and non profit organizations. The Firm’s niche in this market is a customized approach to this politically sensitive process including: in depth knowledge of institutional cultures; insights into the unique challenges and opportunities which leadership transitions represent; one of the largest and most accurate databases in the world on nonprofit CEO and head of school compensation packages which allows for benchmarking within safe harbors limits (for US based schools); and the network of Littleford & Associates’ Newsletter that 5000 schools and not-for profits receive four to five times annually.

Littleford & Associates does not reach into a “stable” of resumes to fill positions. Through our consulting work on a variety of topics, our Firm maintains contact with heads and executives of hundreds of schools and nonprofits in a worldwide network. Our consulting practice also allows us to establish relationships with senior managers below the level of the Head and CEO. We learn about emerging leaders’ skills, personal and professional aspirations and potential fit with organizations seeking a change in leadership.

We are not a placement firm. All searches are personalized to help the school or organization define clearly its needs and identify the best individual who fits with its culture and will help to achieve its goals. Mr. Littleford is the sole Partner assigned to each search. Our Firm intentionally takes on only three to five searches per year in order to give each client the attention and ongoing contact that it deserves and needs.

Our Firm advises the search committee on candidate screening, interview and selection process so as to make the entire search effective, sensitive and constructive. Our counsel includes the following key elements:

  1. Exploring the marketplace for CEO’s, both experienced and new and establishing the regional and national “net”
  2. Forming the search committee and possibly advisory committee(s)
  3. Developing an appropriate and enticing profile the CEO position by using an inclusive focus group approach with client constituent groups
  4. Controlling search costs and using advertising dollars wisely
  5. Communicating the search to the larger community
  6. Emphasizing the importance of healthy board governance in supporting the critical search process
  7. Ensuring that a new Executive Director (and his family) make an effective, healthy and safe transition
  8. Recognizing when an interim appointment and process may be important or even vital to the health of the organization
  9. Understanding the risks as well as the opportunity of including an internal candidate in the pool
  10. Exercising the important fiduciary responsibility of checking references while respecting confidentiality particularly for “sitting” CEO’s
  11. Benchmarking the compensation package to ensure that it is fair, competitive, meets the unique needs of the candidate and his or her family
  12. Manages the overall process strategically by keeping preferred candidates in play and guiding the search committee towards landing the candidate of its choice.

The almost ongoing, high stress job of crisis management in schools has filled the space that was once full of organizational charts, contracts, training, legal protection, salaries and other the expectations and demands.The Head of School has needed to refocus and reframe to reflect the new reality. How do the head and the board partner together respond to and manage this uncharted territory? The job is now high stress nearly all the time.

The webinar will explore:

  • • How a head and board best manage constituent communications and expectations?
  • • Best practice for how the board can support the head of school?
  • • How a head should communicate what he/she needs in order to succeed in the role and have a balanced personal life as well?
  • • What are the immediate danger zones in the head/board relationship at this stressful time?
  • • What simple signals can the Board send that ensure board/school stability and confidence from the stakeholders?
  • • How should the head manage each stakeholder group?
  • • How can the Board support the head personally and with each stakeholder group?
  • • What are the new financial realities, the trade offs of income and expense that must now be addressed?
  • • How to market a school when the campus is closed?
  • • How to engage parents positively when they are full of anxieties?
  • • How does the Head remain positive, reflective and energetic in the midst of all this?


Reminder: Long terms boards with long term chairs lead to long term successful heads and stable and financially sound school.

Contact us today for more information or to sign up!