Sterling Martin Associates Seeks Executive Director for the Funeral Service Foundation

January 5, 2023 – Sterling Martin Associates, an executive search firm which specializes in recruiting talent for associations and other non-profit organizations, has been enlisted to find the next executive director for the Funeral Service Foundation (FSF), the philanthropic voice of the funeral profession and the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).

FSF’s executive director is responsible for directing all functions related to the operation, administration, and communication of the 501(c)(3) charitable organization, said Sterling Martin Associates. The foundation has annual revenues of approximately $2 million and a staff of three professionals.

This leader serves as the organization’s primary spokesperson and represents the foundation at conventions, board meetings, educational events, etc., including preparing and giving oral presentations. The executive director also supports and sustains FSF’s mission through effective and transparent communication with stakeholders including foundation trustees, staff, and committee members; NFDA members, staff and boards; established and potential donors; grant recipients and mission-aligned organizations and partners; state associations, educational institutions, and others.

Collaborative Relationships

Developing and fostering meaningful and collaborative relationships with end-of-life organizations through strategic outreach and engagement is a key aspect of the role, said the search firm. The executive director is charged with identifying, assessing, and cultivating mission-centered funding opportunities and initiatives. He or she is also responsible for conveying the strategic vision of FSF to employees, the board of trustees, NFDA members, sponsors, donors, academic organizations, related associations, and other collaborating partners.

In addition to collaborating with the board and NFDA’s CEO to assure the goals are in alignment with the mission of the foundation, the executive director is responsible for donor stewardship, cultivation, recognition, etc. With the staff, he or she develops and directs fundraising initiatives (e.g., annual, major, and planned giving; special events and campaigns; and grant seeking) to achieve financial and philanthropic goals.

This role requires a bachelor’s degree, said Sterling Martin Associates. Experience working at an executive level for an association foundation or philanthropic/non-profit is strongly preferred. Seven to 10 years of experience managing and executing philanthropic activities at an association foundation is required. A master’s degree is strongly preferred, as is certified fund raising executive (CFRE) certification.

Essential Skills

FSF wants an executive director with strong interpersonal and leadership skills along with the ability to develop and communicate the organization’s vision effectively, both verbally and in writing, said the search firm. Candidates should be adept at relationship, team, and consensus building. They should also have proven strategic planning ability; visionary and high-level thinking are key.

Related: Sterling Martin Associates Seeks CEO for Society of Surgical Oncology 

Exceptional donor stewardship and cultivation skills are essential. Being a dynamic, engaging, and confident public speaker is also important. Candidates must have experience working with and developing a high-level, engaged governing board. Involvement with a national board as well as experience leading an affiliate of a larger organization or association are pluses.

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Sterling Martin Associates, an executive search firm which specializes in recruiting talent for associations and other non-profit organizations, has placed Drew Fulton Bush as the new executive director of the Mount Washington Observatory in North Conway, NH. Board of trustees chair Robert Kirsch called Dr. Bush a passionate and visionary leader who will bring a distinctive strategy for the future while building upon the Observatory’s 90-year legacy in mountain meteorology and climate science.

Based in Brookfield, WI, near Milwaukee, the Funeral Service Foundation began in 1945 as an organization dedicated to improving the funeral profession and deathcare services through the effective stewardship of charitable donations from leaders, funeral professionals, businesses, and organizations in the funeral service community. The foundation has been recognized as the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association Donors since 1997 and continues to help NFDA in its mission to support funeral professionals. The foundation seeks to provide meaningful, impactful resources and programs to help funeral professionals lift up grieving communities and offers scholarships and professional development to empower funeral service professionals and their careers.

Non-Profit Specialists

Sterling Martin Associates, established in 2006, focuses on finding leaders for associations and non-profit organizations. The firm has been engaged by over 150 clients throughout the U.S. Its staff consists of professionals located in Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Orange County, CA. Eighty-five percent of the firm’s searches are for roles at the CEO/executive director level with the balance being for senior staff.

CEO and managing partner David S. Martin guides the firm’s overarching business strategy while maintaining a lead role on multiple national projects each year. For nearly 30 years, he has led complex executive search projects throughout the U.S. Mr. Martin started his executive search career in 1989 after spending eight years in the corporate world. He has held senior-level positions with such global search firms as Korn Ferry and has launched new offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Irvine, CA.

Related: Sterling Martin Recruits CEO for AACP

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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