The executive search industry is beginning to look at non-profit organisations for profit. With the development sector scaling up, the need for professionals to head these organisations has come to the fore.
With high profile NPOs like the Bill Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation and Gere Foundation making their presence felt in India and running their ships like a well-oiled efficient engines, executive search firms are increasingly being mandated to find someone to run their organisation like a corporate.

An executive search firm Third Sector Partners was set up a year ago to address this gap and has done 15 placements during the year. This is huge for a sector which is traditionally not known for paying decent salaries, let alone paying headhunters’ fee. Even Stanton Chase and Heidrick & Struggles are also doing select assignments in this field.
Search firms have facilitated appointments of Shibani Sachdeva (ex-marketing head, SAS Institute) for United Way, Mahesh Naik (ex-accounts head, Cipla) for Magic Bus, Kumud Sampath (ex-president and ED, Astra Zeneca) for US Pharmacopeia, among others.
In CSR, P K Madhav has been appointed for the Biraju Foundation, Ruby Thapar for the Vedanta Group, Veronica George for Sesame India. Others like the Murugappa group and Tata’s have also taken the same route. Whether it is Turner Broadcasting, Jasubhai foundation, Monitor Group, Operation Smile, Akesi, or UN Millennium Development Goals, they are all looking at HR firms to find them leaders. “Foundations have their own targets and measurement systems.
They look for professionals who can play multiple roles,” says Pari Jhaveri, head of Third Sector Partners. There is hardly any company that does not do charity. “Today donor companies want to know that funds are being deployed in an efficient manner, instead of the haze that existed earlier,” says Mohit Mohan, VP Gilbert Tweed.
But what is the kind of talent that these organisations look at? Ex-bureaucrats, UN network veterans and corporate talent. These organisations are willing to pay Rs 20 lakh per annum for mid-level managers. Not bad when you consider that the money is tax-free if its a UN associated body.
This year, even students at Tata Institute of Social Sciences are expecting close to Rs 5 lakh per annum when recruiters from NPOs go knocking at their doors.

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