Help! I was just elected as Chief.

Are you prepared to take on the role of an upper management position within your volunteer department? You may have the best tactical knowledge and experience in running a fire ground or providing quality EMS care to a patient; however, running a nonprofit organization is something that many of us are not prepared for. We have provided a short self-assessment below, which requires you to answer a few questions regarding your knowledge, education, and experience with components of managing and leading a nonprofit organization.


· Have you ever managed a budget greater than $250,000?

· Are you capable of handling discipline in a fair, unbiased, and appropriate manner?

· Are you prepared to deal with upset and or angry community members? Do you realize that these individuals are your stakeholders?

· Have you developed a 3-5 year vision? Check out our blog on strategic planning!

· Have you participated in a board meeting?

· Have you developed an agenda and ran a meeting?

· Are you familiar with Roberts Rules of Order?

· Have you or will you network with elected officials?

· Are you a good public speaker and have you represented your department publicly?

· Are you prepared to review contracts, financial documents, tax forms, and other applicable documentation?

· Can you handle conflict management? Check out our blog on conflict resolution.

· Are you familiar with Employee/Employer laws (these apply to volunteers, are you a combination department, or do you hire supplemental staff)

· Are you familiar with applicable laws (local, state, federal) that impact nonprofits and various tax statutes?


There are many more questions we could pose, however, the ones listed provide the most critical components of managing a nonprofit organization. A promotion into a higher position is not all about the title and benefits that come with it. The responsibility is greater than the new color of your helmet, the take-home car (if your department issues them), or the ability to say, “I am in charge”.


You are now in charge of a nonprofit organization responsible for ensuring the safety of the community that you serve. Furthermore, you are responsible for membership of your organization. You cannot ignore problems, as they will only progress into larger issues. You are now the face of the organization, and should something go drastically wrong, people will be looking at you for answers.


Leadership is the anchor to success within these organizations. We hope to build up and provide resources to those leaders all across the nation, as we believe in the sustainability of the volunteer fire service.



We understand the daunting task of leadership and effectively managing an entire organization. We will be releasing additional blogs with detailed information related to specific areas of management. If you or your department are interested in leadership development or education, please contact us! If there is a topic you would like to read about, please send us a message on our contact page or via Facebook.


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