November 21, 2023 – The Moran Company, an executive recruitment firm that specializes in the non-profit sector, has been retained by the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association to lead in its search for a new executive director. Senior search consultant Mike English is leading the assignment. Reporting to the board of directors, the executive director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for APRA’s programs, policies, and execution of its mission. Areas of responsibility include strategic and operational planning, financial management, corporate relations, community relations, board relations, fund development, and staff development. The board of directors is looking for a strategic executive director who possesses strong leadership skills, an ability to cultivate strong relationships, and advocacy experience.
The executive director will play a critical role in advancing the organization’s mission and taking the association to the next level. This position requires a passionate and strategic individual who can provide effective leadership, advocate for the sector, and support parks and recreation professionals.
The Moran Company notes that the ideal candidate will have strong management experience, preferably in an association, nonprofit, or government services role. This person must possess a high degree of energy, integrity, and creativity. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated success in managing staff and volunteers and will be capable of communicating with a wide range of audiences. Specifically, the search firm lays out what the ideal candidate will possess the following attributes, skills, and experience.
- Previous success in building partnerships/coalitions with governmental, nonprofit, and private/commercial organizations.
- Strong interpersonal, communication, and public speaking skills.
- Proven ability to fundraise and manage budgets.
- Skill in organizing an annual conference, including experience raising funds from sponsorship and conference registration revenue.
- Minimum of 5 years of association management experience preferred.
- Knowledge of parks and recreation industry, including relevant legislation and trends.
- Experience in advocacy and government relations.
- Experience developing and/or implementing a strategic plan.
- Positive outlook with an approachable personality.
- A commitment to APRA’s mission and values.
The Arizona Parks and Recreation Association was founded in 1950 as a member based professional organization. The organization’s membership is comprised of diverse professionals who work for local municipalities, state and county parks, private recreation agencies, HOA’s, golf courses and a variety of businesses who serve the industry. As a non-profit organization, APRA is not directly affiliated or supported by any city, state or county agency. The mission of APRA is to connect, educate and inspire all who enhance the quality of life through the profession of parks, recreation and the protection of natural resources.
The Moran Company, based in Leawood, KS, specializes in searches for non-profit leadership, including executive directors, fundraising/development directors, hospital foundation directors, and other senior executives. Bill Moran founded the search firm in 1996. He has worked on more than 70 non-profit searches. He brings a rare combination to the search sector of having spent another 10 years as senior fundraising staff and 12 years as a successful fundraising consultant serving more than 100 clients.
Demand Intensifies From Non-Profits Seeking Senior Talent
Non-profit organizations in 2023 are facing inflation, declining donations, increased demand for services, workforce shortages, and more. A recent non-profit trends report by Forbes says that the changing workforce is presenting challenges for both for-profit and non-profit leaders. Being ready to consider alternative staffing options would put many of them ahead of the shifting landscape, says Forbes. Fractional staffing possibilities exist from the administrative level through the executive director level, says the report, and may be worthy of consideration for both short-term vacancies and long-term solutions. For senior-level positions, many leading non-profits are turning to executive search firms.
A search for a non-profit executive has much in common with any personnel search, and most boards have members who have hired many people in their careers. The distinctions in the hiring of an executive by a volunteer board, however, create special process issues, and a specialized search firm is best suited to address these, says a report from The Moran Company.
Mr. English, vice president for search strategies, joined The Moran Company in 2020. He previously served as inaugural executive director of Turn the Page KC, a reading proficiency organization for third graders, for whom he still consults. Before that, he was president and CEO of the Missouri Council on Economic Education, based at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The organization promotes and conducts economic and financial education in all Missouri schools. Mr. English was also a senior analyst for the Kauffman Foundation, which aspires “to eliminate barriers so that every person – regardless of their background – can take risks, achieve success and give back to their communities.” His earliest work experience involved managing the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project, a non-profit dedicated to promoting civic and community engagement for young professionals.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media