What is the role and responsibilities of a project manager at a nonprofit organization?
Great question! I have found that it really depends on where you are working and how they define project manager. Some organizations use it as a catch all to include activities such as working on corporate strategies, performance improvement, or developing and tracking a performance management system. Traditionally, a project manager manages projects such as new constructions or implementing new processes. They lead a group of diverse team members to design the work that needs to be done, develop a project plan, ensure that the work is being done on time and on budget, work with leadership to remove barriers, conduct any testing of the work to ensure it is stable, develop training, and finally "go live" which means your first day of final implementation.
Wayne hit the nail on the head with his answer. I have been a department manager and project manager for over 35 years. A good project manager are hard to find. Not only do you have to be savvy enough to gather the correct information regarding the project goals and solutions, but you have to be able to manage the progress and costs. To be successful, communications and organization are a key. Depending on the type and complexity of project there could be a few steps or many for successful completion. There are many check lists to help you with the steps on line. If you can describe the type of project the NPO would like for you to manage, I can help you with an appropriate check/task list.
Best of luck. We can always use another great project Manager.
Thank you for this question. You've received some great responses to your question - so I won't repeat. I'd like to share with you the link to Project Management Institute (PMI), which will give you all the insights you'll want to know about project management and obtaining your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. I hope you find this resource helpful.
Best of luck to you!
Sheila recommends the following next steps:
You would need to be:
(a) very structured and transparent as to what needs to get done,
(b) a visionary who can motivate people to devote time not only when they feel like it and have the time, but when they don't down the line.
A PM in a non-profit environment is to me, the catch all for tasks, activities that don't necessarily fall into a neat little bucket. These could be one offs so you have some skills like organization, relationship building, resourcefulness. Good luck with your journey!
Good question, and kudos to you for being willing to work for an NPO since it indicates a desire to serve. You specifically mention a project manager role, but then indicate you might not be sure which role to actually choose. Here are my thoughts/suggestions on the subject.
There are many jobs to do in any organization. Don't settle on one and then think you are stuck. Be willing to change and if you see something that interests you more, go for it. Get into the organization, ask questions, meet folks in other roles and keep an open mind.
As far as a PM role, it is pretty much the same for any organization. A task needs to be done and the PM makes it happen. A PM role for an NPO will require excellent people skills since you will not necessarily have a staff to assist with getting the project completed and in many cases you will need to rely on volunteers. Some projects will be small enough that you can do them yourself, however those are usually few and far between. If you truly want to be a PM, focus on human relations along with project management skills. There is a pattern for leading a successful project and a multitude of tools to assist you. Look at the PMP certification (Project Management Professional) requirements to get an idea of what to focus on.
There are common threads in all large projects so the principals would apply cross-functionally as well as across industries so focus on those skills.
Hope this helps and good luck!
Good question. Effective Project Managers are required for both profit and non profit organizations. A good starting point is PMI which certifies individuals with credentials such as PMP. This site will give you a good understanding of Project Management. All organizations seek to constantly review their existing processes, refine procedures to eliminate process inefficiencies and redundancies. This permits them to deploy their resources on important tasks which add value to the organization. Projects are timebound with finite - start and ending dates- unlike generic programs.
With the usage of soft skills (effective communication, negotiation, leadership, etc.) and hard skills (technical knowledge of project management) you will be able to determine what is the best combination for a specific organization, client or industry. If you enjoy tailoring solutions, defining strategies and making things to happen, the project manager role is suitable for you.
As a project manager you are constantly going to be interacting and communicating with multiple stakeholders, therefore, it is important that you discover the most efective way to engage your team, keep them motivated and keep them informed. As other respondents have already stated, the project manager role might be very detailed and multiple areas of knowledge be involved.
Finally I would like to tell you that choosing this career is an excellent option since every industry you can imagine, every organization you can imagine, they will require of the project management industry to delivery value through projects. Therefore, you can have an incredible level of diversity regarding the potential industries that you can work for.