Approach & FAQs

m/Oppenheim recruits visionary leaders to nonprofits.

We locate the hard-to-identify innovators, the entrepreneurs who can move across sectors to bring powerful new practices to clients, leaders focused on driving outstanding results and operating excellence. Through exhaustive sourcing, evidence-based analysis, and by cultivating strong networks among nonprofit, business and funding leaders, we deliver superior results.

We take on searches where “usual suspect” recruiting is insufficient.

No other firm invests so much in analyzing the nuances and mechanics of leadership so that you have strong insight into each candidate as you compare their strengths, attributes and weaknesses. Our operating culture, sector investments, nonprofit news reporting, internal incentives, philanthropy and our every workflow reflects a DNA-level commitment to engaging leaders of diverse accomplishment able to address your specific challenges in the coming years.

Our approach is direct and effective.

We are guided by experience assisting leaders from a broad array of nonprofit disciplines and sectors, and each m/Oppenheim executive search delivers three things:

Our process is guided by a textured understanding of the different challenges that a new leader will be expected to successfully navigate.

We ask, “What constitutes success in the eyes of your various constituents and in the next 18 months and in 3 to 5 years?” Your vision guides development of the position description, sourcing scripts, sourcing targets and search strategy.

Interviews with candidates reveal candidate strengths and competencies, stylistic attributes and weaknesses in the context of your needs and your future trajectory.

Our process also encourages consensus within organizations and boards on the type of journey that will lead to success over the next years.

As the vision for the future becomes clearer it can be tested against the qualities of different candidates.

Our networks include an extraordinary range of leaders with diverse competencies and backgrounds. We provide on-going support to these individuals as they advance in their careers, strengthen their organizations and serve their constituents, and we are always grateful for their nominations and other suggestions rendered in the course of a search.

Our network also includes individual and institutional funders; business leaders who serve, support and collaborate with nonprofits; board members who have their own extensive networks; and public sector leaders from across the political landscape. These networks are continually refreshed through consistent outreach and sourcing by our consultants and through independent research conducted by our staff.

  1. Insight (result: the position description)
  2. Sourcing (result: candidates)
  3. Interviews (result: finalists)
  4. Selection (result: negotiation & close)

FAQs – The m/Oppenheim Advantage:

  • Laser Focus: Our internal incentives, investments and every workflow reflect a DNA-level commitment to engaging leaders of diverse accomplishments able to address the specific challenges of nonprofits in the coming years. Firms earning most revenue from businesses optimize around candidates that deliver margin; we optimize around candidates delivering balanced impact aligned to mission. Our process is intense, our analysis revealing, our results evidence-based.
  • We are better at engaging business candidates for nonprofits: Executives are don’t like to let business recruiters know they might be open to crossing over to the nonprofit sector. We have no such impediment, because m/Oppenheim will not be recruiting executives to their next business position. We routinely engage in discreet discussions with business leaders on their interests, families, concerns and passions – discussions which are frequently too intimate and personal for a business recruiting context. And we contextualize analysis of business accomplishments in nonprofit terms.
  • Networks: m/Oppenheim sourcing systematically crosses networks to break barriers, and TV also has us continually interacting in real time with broad networks of business, nonprofit and government leaders as we cover nonprofit news and trends. We can and do reach anyone.

Certain firms specialize in rotating through a particular cadre of professionals in fundraising, finance, the arts, education, the environment, etc. m/Oppenheim is required when a client requires comprehensive sourcing, deep analysis and insight, and comparative evaluation of how different candidates deliver results in constrained timeframes.

Our networks and our database of qualified leaders from diverse fields are second to none. That said, no search firm ought to be selected based on the idea that a good database provides a short-cut to success. Claims of having a secret database are outdated in a Google, LinkedIn, social media and interconnected world – there are no ‘secret databases’ or hidden access routes to candidates.

We can reach anyone; the key is what happens next.

We drive positive awareness and support for our clients and raise awareness of effective solutions to problems faced by nonprofits. This improves search results and constantly deepens our own exposure to new thinking.

Our investment in mOppenheim.TV expresses our commitment to the sector, demonstrates our knowledge and interview approach to clients seeking our services, and builds a nonprofit news reporting ecosystem as a public service.

We co-fund development of video materials if that is desired. Please reach out to media@mOppenheim.TV for more information or call 415-762-2650.

For any search that we conduct, we tap into both mainstream and nontraditional networks to produce exceptional candidates. In doing so, we place a strong emphasis on diversity of all types, including people of different or no religious affiliation, and people of diverse ethnic backgrounds, race, gender, sexual orientation, and age who are appropriately credentialed with a combination of style, experience and skill to indicate that they will be successful in the role contemplated. We are fully committed to helping organizations use the search process to derive the benefits that diversity brings, and to assisting Search Committees, boards and executives to navigate this complex terrain.

We work especially hard to challenge everyone, ourselves included, to think beyond starting assumptions about “ideal models” of candidates, and we develop candidate slates that represent experientially diverse options with track records demonstrating success delivered under different circumstances. We do this, of course, without overlooking the programmatic expertise, major fundraising, visibility building, strategic management and operational experience required of today’s nonprofit executives. By considering alternative profiles of accomplished candidates, we offer a superior range of choices that derives from an exhaustive survey of the talent pool offered by the market at that particular point in time.

Fundamentally integrating considerations of diversity into the search from start to finish has certain consequences.  For example, it is critically important that organizations consider that alternative profiles of accomplished candidates means that viable leaders for your future might have strengths, weaknesses and experiences that are a bit different from those of past leaders.  Different is not a bad thing, but “different” is… different.  A board and staff shaped to align with past leaders might be slightly uncomfortable with a style and competency set that is just a bit different from what was expected.  There may be unexpected strengths and also some weaknesses that prior leaders did not have.  Certain adjustments on the part of the board and staff might be required for a new leader to be successful.

All of these issues are reviewed and thoroughly discussed in a manner that is respectful and guided by the outcomes that you wish for your organization.

We define our own success solely by the selected person’s ability to work with the Board and staff to strengthen your organization in ways that you define, and according to aggressive yet reasonable timeframes for the search. To us, success is not simply completing a search but what is accomplished by the person selected throughout his or her tenure.

How It Looks Behind the Curtain:

Our interactions with clients and candidates look very much like our INSIGHT interviews with prominent nonprofit leaders, which are edits of hour-long interviews. We can conduct hundreds of such interviews in the course of each search.

Active Searches

Abode Services

Abode Services

Senior Vice President of Development and Communications