Use the 4 Ms when picking your staff

All a nonprofit needs is passion, right? Well, it helps, but a balance sheet in the black never hurts either.

The executive director of the Colorado AID Project from 2001 to 2008, Deirdre Maloney tackles this fallacy in her new book, “The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business.”

Now the founder and president of Momentum in San Diego, Calif., Maloney offers a variety of tips and suggestions in explaining the Four Ms for optimal results: management, money, marketing and measurement.

When it comes to recruiting staff, she had these suggestions:

  • Be a tough reference checker. Request a set of references from your finalists and use that as a starting point, but check in with others at a candidate’s former organizations.
  • Don’t settle. It’s better to have a position empty and keep on looking than to hire the wrong person just to get the process completed
  • Avoid the Mission Myth. Be wary if a candidate is too connected to your mission and consider whether their passion is so great that it could lead to boundary issues.
  • Don’t fall for the big lie. People with messy desks just aren’t organized enough to know where everything is amidst the piles of paper, no matter what they say. If they were, there would be no piles.
  • Don’t oversell. Recruiting means finding the person who is interest in your organization and in being successful at the job, someone who can hear the truth about every part of the organization and wants the job anyway.