Food banks and Shelters Need Strong Leadership to Survive COVID-19: Four Considerations for Executive Recruitment


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Charitable organizations throughout Canada are being challenged with a significant rise in demand due to the additional pressures brought on by implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. With colder weather approaching and the possibility of facing a second wave of infection, these organizations continue to be challenged to provide their essential services.

Strong and consistent leadership is critical in overcoming this complex time. When seeking leaders for shelters, food banks and other community organizations, there are four things that recruiters must consider:

  1. Leaders with financial acumen and fundraising experience are key. Shelters and community-based organizations must seek management that can effectively manage finances and who have a record of success with fundraising. Not only is the demand for these services higher than ever, but costs are continuously rising with the need for PPE, extra beds, physical barriers for social distancing and more.
  2. Leaders that are knowledgeable with and committed to staff and volunteer safety. Non-profit organizations require leaders who understand how to implement strong safety policies and practices that ensure the safety of their workers and volunteers. Ensuring employees are informed, trained and provided with the necessary protocols, while keeping them engaged and motivated is a required leadership capability.
  3. Leaders that understand the role their organization plays in critical times. Shelters and food banks need leaders who are able to navigate through the uncertainty and challenges of COVID-19.  They must be aware of the implications that heightened economic challenges have on their services and be able to demonstrate effective decision making with compassion and a trauma centered approach to care.
  4. Leaders must demonstrate an inclusive world view. Being well informed and knowledgeable about the vulnerable groups in their local communities and demonstrating outreach and accessibility for those who need the services is critical to successful leadership of these important organizations. It is the responsibility of leadership to ensure equal access to services and that every client is treated with dignity and respect.

Strong leadership is paramount to keeping non-profits serving the vulnerable members of our communities. Is your organization prepared?