Our Research

Leadership deserves real strategies, not mere anecdotes and assumptions. Here at the Concord Leadership Group we not only keep up-to-date with the best leadership research in the world, we also do our own.

So we conduct industry-wide surveys on the state of leadership in the nonprofit sector.

Charities are getting hit hard from outside pressures but this is just the prelude to the leadership issues we’ll start seeing coming from within organizations.

  • Every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, necessitating new leaders to take their place.
  • 67% of nonprofit CEOs report not planning on being in their position in five years.
  • Researchers estimate the nonprofit sector will need 80,000 senior and management leaders each year
  • CEOs are coming to nonprofit positions without all the experiences needed to successfully run their organization. They’re especially caught off guard by the need to fundraise.
  • Board members are increasingly micromanaging the executive directors they hire,
    focusing on minutia instead of the important tasks like strategic planning and succession planning.

While nonprofits are needed now more than ever, these trends indicate we’re in for quite a ride. Some might even call it a “perfect storm.”

Very few research-based resources exist to help leaders. So it’s probably not surprising that leadership development within our nonprofits is so inadequate that around half of nonprofit boards looking to hire have had to go outside of the organization to bring in a leader. While fresh ideas can be good, we all know what time and effort can be saved by promoting leaders from within.


Board members and executive directors don’t have time to figure out what works through trial and error. So the Concord Leadership Group partners with groups like the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy and companies like Bloomerang, Boardable, and DonorSearch to help. We’ve launched “The State of Nonprofit Leadership” – surveys creating snapshots of the current state of leadership in the nonprofit sector.

The surveys build on the studies by organizations like CompassPoint and Bridgespan. In our latest report, we asked leaders about their leadership behaviors based on four common leadership approaches – servant leadership, transformational, charismatic, or transactional. The report then ties these behaviors with impact on planning and fundraising.


Nonprofits are important than ever. And deserve the best, evidenced-based research available to chart their future. And with over 1100 respondees, the survey sheds light on the deep, systemic challenges in the sector. And helps point the way to making it better.

Click here to download the Wake Up Call report.

Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report 2016 [Infographic] (web)
“The Crisis in Nonprofit Leadership webinar is AWESOME. Marc shares very valuable statistics and advice on how to strengthen the effectiveness of charities. Every nonprofit leader should watch this and apply the strategies.”
Rob Tonus

President, The Fundraising Company, Peterborough, Ontario

Our Survey Partners

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Leadership style - Charismatic