m/Oppenheim was formed to recruit visionary leaders to nonprofit organizations.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions on m/Oppenheim’s Value Proposition

m/Oppenheim vs. business search firms that also serve nonprofits:

  • Laser Focus: Our internal incentives, investments and every workflow reflects 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.

m/Oppenheim vs. firms that rotate through pre-defined candidate pools:

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.

m/Oppenheim Networks:

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.

Fierce competition for talent:

We operate in environments in which our clients must compete for rare talent with others. After all, where talent is abundant and competition is low, there is little need to engage a search firm. We are always competing, and the best talent is always difficult to engage.

Other consulting, interim work, etc.:

We integrate consulting into our engagements, but believe that separate fees for consulting set up a perverse incentive structure that can diminish search quality. If extensive additional consulting is required, we refer to others who we trust.

Why does m/Oppenheim take a marketing approach to search and invest in nonprofit reporting through mOppenheim.TV?

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.

m/Oppenheim creates video profiles for some searches that include interviews of board and staff, and videos that function as marketing spots. Can you do this for us?

Yes – we co-fund development of video materials if that is desired. Please reach out to media [at] mOppenheim [dot] TV for more information or call 415-762-2650.

How do you deal with issues of diversity?

The traditional approach to diversity is to see diversity as separate from and parallel to questions of leadership excellence. We see diversity entirely differently. The most innovative, resilient and capable nonprofits and businesses are strong precisely because they have diverse staff that push at the boundaries of conventional wisdom. To engage and hire such staff, it is critical to focus on outcomes, the broad mix of attributes and experiences that together account for a candidate’s success, and the personal needs of individuals and organizations.

How m/Oppenheim defines success?

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 do you handle internal candidates?

Our approach integrates all sourcing and all candidates into one process, and we treat everyone identically.

When organizations have internal candidates that you wish treated differently, we suggest undertaking this separate process first and we volunteer to assist in this at no charge. Otherwise we fold internal candidates into our overall process and do not adjust fees based on the source behind a particular nomination.

How many searches do you work on?

We do not overbook – when submitting a proposal we reserve a search startup slot for 30 days and then release it unless renewed for another 30. When we are at capacity, we stop accepting new searches. We generally have two Principals on each search, and each Principal has an overall capacity of 2 searches in startup, 2 at midpoint, and 2 in the finalist stage at any point in time.

What are your “off limits” related clients?

Former clients, placements and their networks are part of our sourcing networks and we regularly reach out to them over the course of searches for suggestions and nominations. While we do not actively recruit leaders we have placed, there have been occasions where we are approached by a candidate that we have placed in the past after they have served our client – typically five years or more.

We find that our clients do not view m/Oppenheim as their mechanism for preventing treasured leaders from taking a next logical career step. The fact is that we frequently receive nominations or candidate references from Board chairs and executives in our network who feel that their most valued leaders are ready for a new challenge. Such nominations are an expression of both support and loyalty.

What are your fees?

Our fee is the industry standard one-third of annual taxable compensation.

Detailed Search Schedule

Searches generally require 3-5 months, although the actual schedule for a search depends on many factors and we accommodate the needs of our clients:

  • Prior to first meeting:
    • Signed confirmation letter received.
    • Interview contact list received for Search Committee, staff, board, others (including names, addresses, e-mails, work/mobile/home phone numbers as appropriate)
    • Assemble candidate packets if possible (these are briefing materials ready to be sent to prospects and candidates in the course of the search)
    • Reserve days for kickoff meeting and in-person or phone interviews
  • From Kickoff meeting to approval of the Position Description
    • Kickoff meeting Monday), followed by 1 or two days of in-person interviews, followed by phone interviews
    • Development of 1st draft of the position description (If the kickoff meeting happens on Monday, the first draft is usually delivered the following Monday or Tuesday)
    • Position Description – review, edits and draft (generally another week)
    • Develop initial source list
  • From Sourcing to Candidate Interviews
    • Phase 1 Sourcing (generally about 6 weeks)
    • Midpoint meeting (generally a long meeting with the Search Committee, with review of prospect resumes and feedback from SC to guide further sourcing)
    • Phase 2 Sourcing (generally 4 weeks)
    • Candidate selection meeting (generally a long meeting with the Search Committee, culminating in selection of 4-6 candidates)
    • Candidate interviews (one or two days of structured interviews), followed by Finalist Selection
  • Selection
    • Finalist interviews (unstructured meetings/interviews with Search Committee, selected Board members)
    • Meet & greet with staff
    • Debrief & feedback to Search Committee
    • Selection
    • Negotiation
    • Search completion

How Does It All Look?

Our interactions with clients and candidates look very much like our INSIGHT interviews with prominent nonprofit leaders, which are edits of hour long interviews:

mOppenheimTV puts the nonprofit world in your pocket