Nonprofit chief operating officers (COOs) often hold a range of responsibilities—from ensuring financial sustainability, developing strong organizational systems and processes, tending to team and culture, and helping the organization navigate change. Ensuring COOs have the support, connections, and resources they need can be a key way to support an organization’s operations.
From October 2019 to May 2021, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation funded a peer learning cohort for 11 COOs from organizations focused on strengthening U.S. democracy. Sara Brenner, president of Community Wealth Partners, interviewed Daniel Stid, program director of U.S. Democracy at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, to learn more about why the Hewlett Foundation decided to invest in COOs and what they have learned from this cohort experience. View excerpts from their conversation below.
Why the Hewlett Foundation invests in COOs
The vision for the COO cohort
Insights on the COO role
Advice for other funders
Read more about what we and the COOs we worked with learned from this experience:
- Three Recommendations for COOs Navigating Change: If you’re a COO, the challenges of leadership may sometimes leave you feeling isolated, unsteady, or uncertain about how to chart a path forward. You’re not alone. Here are three recommendations for COOs grappling with this.
- Q&A: COOs of Democracy Nonprofits Reflect on a Year Unlike Any Other:In this Q&A, members of the cohort share reflections on what they’ve learned about the COO role and the importance of investing in this role.