Looking for support

Hello, my name is Kimberly and I am the Founder & CEO of a marine conservation nonprofit. Oh so many hats to wear.
Looking for support

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About 6 years ago, I started my nonprofit not realizing that is what I was doing, Lol. My nonprofit has become my passion & my dream.( I eat, dream, and sleep my passion.) When I started it about 6 years ago, I didn't realize I was actually starting a non-profit. Educating the public about the oceans and the lives within it has been deeply in me since I can remember. So needless to say, this is my legacy I wish to leave behind. Unfortunately, I am wearing so many hats at once. We do have a small board, which have been wonderful,  but there seems to be some humps that I would greatly appreciate coaching or mentoring on. We have a wonderful presence online and network branches all over the world from Sri Lanka, to Bangkok, to the United States. I think it is time to bring on a COO but I am very protective and guarded of the nonprofit. I can find plenty of videos on business structure of a nonprofit but what I can't find is the mental and emotional tug that can come with being the founder.  Any advice, help, or direction is greatly appreciated. Networking, people, and relationships is what keeps everything going. 

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Go to the profile of Lara Reden
3 months ago

Have you explored the member directory to see if you can connect with other nonprofit founders?

Go to the profile of Kimberly Ray
3 months ago

Thank you, I will definitely check out the Member Directory. 

Go to the profile of Jackie Symmons
3 months ago

I’d advise getting someone with project management experience in to assist you for a little while and get some feedback on how you could potentially work smarter and what you could outsource to volunteers or contractors. It’s a good way of understanding where you are before you make the jump to employing others full time and helps you think about what you want to do and what you could/would let go and when you should let someone else do tasks. Knowing what your needs are will be able to help visualise better the direction you are heading. I’m happy to discuss more if would like as I have wide project management experience in the conservation.

Go to the profile of Kimberly Ray
3 months ago

Thank you very much Jackie. I would love to hear about your project management experience. 

Go to the profile of Martha Kimmel
3 months ago

Kimberley, thank you for sharing about this struggle so openly! It's something I often see from where I sit, with founders wanting to grow the organization, but that growth requiring the founder to hand things over to others in a way that's new (and often uncomfortable) for them.

I wonder if the thinking around servant leadership might be valuable to you? It's a style of leadership that aims to foster trust and encourage ownership from others (potentially including a COO) for the greater good of the organization. But it also requires the leader taking a step back from the traditional style of directive leadership. The traits required for this style of leadership are often not the same traits that allow founders to be initially successful, so I suspect it would be a learning curve for many successful founders... It might not be useful to you, but I wanted to share just in case!

Wishing you all the best in the journey ahead on this!

Go to the profile of Emma O'Brien
about 1 month ago

Hi Kimberly, 

First off I just wanted to say that I think what you're doing is amazing! I have always been fascinated with sharks and great whites in particular and advocating for them. 

Having worked in start ups and non profits as an exec assistant, I can appreciate with the passion you have and wanting to ensure you have the right people in place, who share the same values and are trustworthy. I would suggest taking someone on as an EA (you may already have one) as this is a great starting point to bring someone in and build that relationship and trust and really have someone as your right hand - or as Jackie suggested, a project manager to start with to help take a step back and do a complete overview of where you're at right now with your non profit and what you're hoping to achieve in the coming year / years, from here you can collaborate and have a strategy in place and this will also make it easier to know exactly what you want and need from a COO. 

Talking to other non profit founders is also great as Lara has suggested, because they can share a lot of insight in terms of what worked and what they would do differently. 

I have some suggestions below as a place to start;

- https://www.sharktrust.org/our-staff

- https://iwdg.ie/about-us/#about-our-team

Best of luck in your search :)