Funeral Service Foundation

Executive Director

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The Opportunity

The Executive Director (ED) of the Funeral Service Foundation (FSF) is responsible for directing all functions related to the operation, administration, and communication of the FSF, a 501(c)(3) with annual revenues of approximately $2M and a staff of three foundation professionals. Based near Milwaukee, WI, the Foundation has been recognized as the charitable arm of the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) since 1997 and continues to help the NFDA in its mission to support funeral professionals. Reporting to the NFDA Chief Executive Officer and the Foundation Board Chair, the FSF Executive Director promotes and assists in carrying out the Foundation’s mission, vision, goals, and strategic plan as developed by the Board of Trustees and staff.

About the Funeral Service Foundation

The Funeral Service Foundation began in 1945 as an organization dedicated to improving the funeral profession and deathcare services through the effective stewardship of charitable donations from leaders, funeral professionals, businesses, and organizations in the funeral service community. Its mission is to invest in people and programs to strengthen funeral service and lift up grieving communities. The Foundation seeks to provide meaningful, impactful resources and programs to achieve this mission, and it offers scholarships and professional development to empower funeral service professionals and their careers. To learn more about the Foundation’s impact, read FSF’s 2021 Impact Report here.

The Executive Director Role

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serves as the Foundation’s primary spokesperson and represents the Foundation at conventions, board meetings, educational events, etc., including preparing and giving oral presentations.
  • Supports and sustains the Foundation’s mission through effective and transparent communication with stakeholders including Foundation trustees, staff and committee members; NFDA members, staff and boards; established and potential donors; grant recipients and mission-aligned organizations and partners; state associations, educational institutions, etc.
  • Develops and fosters meaningful and collaborative relationships with end-of-life organizations through strategic outreach and engagement. Identifies, assesses, and cultivates mission-centered funding opportunities and initiatives.
  • Responsible for conveying the strategic vision of the Foundation to employees, the Board of Trustees, NFDA members, sponsors, donors, academic organizations, related associations and other collaborating partners.
  • Collaborates with the Board of Trustees and NFDA CEO to assure the goals are in alignment with the mission of the Foundation.
  • Responsible for donor stewardship, cultivation, recognition, etc. With staff, develops and directs fundraising initiatives (e.g., annual, major, and planned giving; special events and campaigns; and grant seeking) to achieve financial and philanthropic goals.
  • Oversees the preparation and distribution of all Board of Trustee and committee correspondence to include but not limited to meeting notices, agendas, minutes, notes, letters, internal memos and reports.
  • Directs the development and tasks of all Foundation committees: Executive, Grants, Community Engagement, Finance, Fund Development, Board Development, the Journey to Serve Task Force, and other ad hoc committees and task forces as needed.
  • Responsible for planning and managing the Foundation’s annual budget in partnership with the Board.
  • In conjunction with the Board, staff, and appropriate committees, develops and maintains Foundation policies, procedures and committee charters, and upholds Foundation bylaws.
  • In conjunction with the NFDA Controller and Finance Committee, oversees the Foundation’s annual budget and endowment/investment performance.
  • Ensures that the Foundation complies with IRS regulations and state 501(c)(3) registration requirements; maintains high-level GuideStar/Candid rating.
  • With staff, prepares cost proposals for projects. Analyzes proposals and makes cost-savings recommendations.
  • Oversees the scholarship and grant award processes. With staff, develops and maintains evaluation framework to help determine the effective disbursement of funds, measurable grantmaking outcomes, and mission achievement.
  • Oversees, and with staff, executes Foundation events including the annual golf classic, donor appreciation reception, and other events as assigned.
  • Oversees the Journey to Serve project, oversees collaboration with ICCFA Educational Foundation and other organizations involved.
  • Directs and develops the Foundation Director of Community Engagement, Director of Development, Development Manager, and any other staff while encouraging ongoing professional development.
  • Oversees the development of resources, ongoing grantee relationships, and other Foundation programs that fit the organization’s mission.
  • Serves as a member of the NFDA senior leadership team.
  • All other duties as assigned.

Required Skills, Experience, and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree required. Experience working at an executive level for an association foundation or philanthropic/nonprofit is strongly preferred; 7-10 years of experience managing and executing philanthropic activities at an association foundation is required. Master’s Degree strongly preferred. Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification strongly preferred.
  • Strong interpersonal and leadership skills along with the ability to develop and communicate the vision effectively, both verbally and in writing, are essential.
  • Adept at relationship, team, and consensus building.
  • Proven strategic planning ability; visionary and high-level thinking are key.
  • Exceptional donor stewardship and cultivation skills.
  • Dynamic, engaging, and confident public speaker.
  • Experience working with and developing a high-level, engaged governing board. Involvement with a national board is a plus. Experience leading an affiliate of a larger organization or association is a plus.
  • Position requires an ability to handle multiple projects and tasks, attention to detail, and the highest degree of confidentiality. Must be able to work in a fast-paced, deadline-oriented environment with a variety of diverse individuals. Must be flexible regarding work hours and have the ability to travel.
  • Knowledge of all Microsoft Office applications required. Knowledge of Donor Perfect or similar donor management software preferred.

Personal Qualities and Competencies

  • Strong ethical leader with transparent, authentic relationship-building and influencing skills.
  • Mission-driven, compassionate, and committed to the vision of FSF.
  • A trustworthy, approachable communicator who can build trust and foster open dialogue within an organization.
  • Candidates from historically under-represented communities are strongly encouraged to apply.


A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

To Apply

To apply, please send a cover letter and current resume (Microsoft Word® format preferred) here. The cover letter should outline how your experience fits the requirements of the position as this will be an important factor in considering your candidacy.

Sterling Martin Associates is committed to providing equal opportunity for employees and applicants in all aspects of the employment relationship, without regard to race, religion, color, age, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ancestry, national origin, citizenship, political affiliation, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability, or other applicable legally protected characteristics. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.