The Leadership Deficit in the Nonprofit Sector

Oneof the biggest challenges facing nonprofit organizations today is their dearth of strong leaders – a problem that’s only going to get worse as the sector expands and baby boom executives retire. Recent research undertaken by the Bridgespan group has shown an estimated annual growth in the number of nonprofit organizations of 6%. Over the next decade nonprofit organizations will need to find some 640,000 new nonprofit executives, nearly two and a half times the number currently employed.

This article has a number of calls to action:

  • Budget for nonprofit leadership succession training and recruitment, and develop greater emphasis by existing leaders to train up others
  • Look at payment options, and keep track of leadership costs rather than lump them in overheads
  • Focus more on performance goals and reviews for accountability and also outcomes
  • Look to the retiring baby boomers as a source of talent
  • Attract those in the middle of their careers
  • Attract young nonprofit managers in training
  • Change assumptions about recruiting. What value can be had from mothers wishing to reenter the workforce, from the public sector, from the business world generally. What needs to change for these sectors to add value to the nonprofit sector?

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