Learn English – What to call a person who runs a non-profit organization


A person who works in kitchens can be called a Chef, or Cook. Someone who designs websites can be called a Web Developer or Web Designer.

What would you call a person who runs a non-profit/community service organization?

My first thoughts were Philanthropist or Humanitarian, but those both seem a little large scale for my tastes and may come off as boastful. On the other end is Volunteer, but that doesn't seem to convey the fact that the person actually runs the organization.

The actual title is Executive Director but saying "David is an Executive Director" doesn't convey the non-profit nature of the organization

I'm looking for a single word that represents someone who is in charge of a simple non-profit/charitable organization that doesn't sound too "big."


Best Answer

The question conflates occupations, sectors, and titles. An expeditor works in a kitchen but is neither a chef nor a cook. An office manager who works for a restaurant is as much an office manager as one who works for a law firm. And the person who designed their website is on some level a web designer, but might be an "intern" or "Senior Director, Digital Marketing" on the résumé.

It is relatively rare that a title implies an industry, except in specialized roles in realms like the government, military, or religion—if you are an archbishop, most people won't ask whether you are archbishopping for an accounting firm or for the electrical utility.

A chief executive is a chief executive. It doesn't matter whether she works for the local food bank, the municipality, or a regional chain of veterinary clinics, and it doesn't matter whether her title is General Secretary or County Manager or President and CEO. If you want to say she is director of a non-profit, you have to say she is director of a non-profit. There are no shortcuts.