Encompass Blog

What exactly does an Executive Director do, anyway?

September 18, 2018  |  News and Announcements  |  By Nela Cumming, MSW

Nela Cumming onstage at an autumn gala

Although no has ever asked me directly, I’ll bet some of you wonder: just what the heck does Nela do all day?

At Encompass, we have an excellent team of department directors who are responsible for the day-to-day operation of Encompass. This leaves me free to spend time doing what Executive Directors are supposed to do, which is, in a nutshell, advancing the organization.

But what does that look like? Well, the “Essential Duties” in my job fall under five categories: Leadership, Oversight and Fiduciary, Fundraising and Communications, New Business Development, and Professional Development. A little more about what each of these areas mean for my time is below:

  • Leadership: The area has to do with making sure we have–and are following–a strategic plan and that the Board are informed and engaged enough to be able to help us determine and maintain our strategic direction. I spend a lot of my time building and maintaining relationships with our Board so that they can do that.
  • Oversight and Fiduciary: This is budget development and ensuring that we follow our contracts and legal requirements and that we maintain sound financial practices. I track our budget very closely through the year and make sure we are adjusting as circumstances and funding predictions change.
  • Fundraising and Communication: This takes more than 50% of my time. I am responsible for assisting our stellar Development department by making sure I present Encompass to the community and ensuring we meet our fundraising goals. Since we are in capital campaign mode, a big portion of my time is focused on talking to potential donors about the capital campaign.
  • New Business Development: I constantly work with the operations team to ensure that we are developing programs, within the scope of our mission, that meet the community needs.
  • Professional Development: Making sure we have solid HR practices and that the management team (and all staff) have the training and resources to do their jobs.

So what does this all mean?

It means that what my job looks like is a lot of meetings with the Board and senior leadership to get feedback and assist in making any adjustments that are needed. A great deal of my time also requires face time with existing and potential supporters of Encompass. It is very important that I stay in touch with our programs and the actual reason that we all, myself included, work at Encompass: to work toward our vision of a community where ALL children thrive.

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