Bridgestar Launches Web-based Resource for Prospective, Current Nonprofit Chief Operating Officers (COOs) and Hiring Managers

First of Planned Series of Mini-sites Dedicated to Key Leadership Roles in Nonprofit Organizations


Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/15/2006 --Bridgestar, a nonprofit initiative of the Bridgespan Group dedicated to attracting, connecting and supporting senior leaders for the sector, today introduced a new area on designed specifically for nonprofit chief operating officers (COOs), offering ideas, tools and resources for prospective and current leaders as well as hiring managers.

Available at, it is one of Bridgestar’s growing roster of services for COOs, including informal networking groups and a COO LISTSERV®. It is the first of a planned series of mini-sites addressing the needs of key nonprofit leadership positions.

Bridgestar’s decision to develop a COO-specific section is the result of a change within the nonprofit sector. Sometimes called deputy director, associate director, or director of operations, the nonprofit COO role is not necessarily new. What has changed is the increasingly formalized nature of the role and the sector’s growing emphasis on management and operations expertise.

“When a recent Harvard Business Review article observed that the role of COO was misunderstood in the for-profit sector, where the position has a long history, we realized the nonprofit sector needed a resource for its COOs, whatever their actual titles. More than any other role, the COO’s responsibilities depends not only on a range of the usual variables such as an organization’s size, complexity, mission, and culture, but also on intangible variables such as the strengths and interests of the executive director and the COO,” said David Simms, Bridgestar Managing Partner.

Based on its executive recruiting engagements, surveys and networking events, Bridgestar realized there had been a great unmet need.

“We learned that few resources exist to bring significant bodies of knowledge and content together for nonprofit COOs and hiring organizations,” Simms added. “Our new section is designed to help individuals and organizations understand the role from a number of vantage points: general overview – such as what it is, who does it and how; becoming one, including how to prepare for the position; being one, such as managing one's career, and connecting to a broader community of peers to tap ideas and best practices. For organizations hiring COOs, we offer tools and best practices to help with scoping the role, finding a candidate, and understanding best practices for ’onboarding.’ We also offer in this section a view into the Bridgestar job board, along with the ability to post senior leadership positions and manage resumes. Our goal is to be the premier destination for those seeking information and services – in effect, building everyone's capacity for stronger nonprofit organizations – and to make this resource highly interactive over time”

The COO section is comprised of six key areas:

- About the Role: Information about what the COO role entails, and profiles of nonprofit COOs, for those looking to learn more about the role and how it is fashioned in different organizations.
- Prospective COOs: Resources specifically for leaders preparing for job searches, including FAQs.
- Current COOs: Connections to the Bridgestar COO community, and resources for career planning.
- Recruiting a COO: Information and tools for hiring managers, from tips on creating the position and sample job descriptions, to ideas for finding the right candidate.
- COO Positions: View available operations positions from the Bridgestar job board, and/or post positions (organizational members).
- Bridgespan Knowledge: Related content from the Bridgespan Group on topics such as business planning and managing growth.

Bridgestar will continue to add content and features to the section. And over the next few months, Bridgestar plans a companion site devoted to chief financial officers (CFOs) and an update of “Explore the Nonprofit Sector,” Bridgestar's area specifically for those senior managers in the private or government sectors beginning the journey of learning about nonprofit work, said Simms.

About Bridgestar
Bridgestar, an initiative of the Bridgespan Group, is a nonprofit organization providing talent-matching services, content, and tools designed to help organizations build strong leadership teams and individuals pursue career paths as nonprofit leaders. Bridgestar’s goal is to attract, connect, and support senior talent, leading to greater organizational effectiveness and social impact.