What actually works in nonprofit leadership? [A study]

by | Nov 19, 2015 | Board Members, CEO/Executive Directors, Middle Managers, Organizational Leadership, Staff Relations, Volunteers | 0 comments

A post on our sister blog FundraisingCoach.com saying fundraising problems being leadership problems really hit a nerve.

And it’s no wonder.

We all know charities are facing increasing external pressures from the economy, government regulation, and the changing needs of donors. But we believe this is simply a prelude to the enormous pressures we’ll see coming from within nonprofit organizations in the near future.

  • There is an alarming increase in the number of executive directors bullied by their own board of directors.
  • CEOs are faced with so many distractions they often focus on the wrong issues at the expense of the right ones – wasting donor money and causing unnecessary staff turnover.
  • And in the absence of a unifying mission, some staff members are creating fiefdoms and silos convincing themselves this will somehow benefit the whole nonprofit.

Add to this the 10,000 Baby Boomers reaching retirement age every day, and we’re in for quite a ride. Some might even call it a “perfect storm.”

Unfortunately, leaders are still largely left with either 1950’s style, one-size-fits-all leadership advice or anecdotal stories of what has worked for specific leaders. Very few research-based resources exist to help leaders. So leaders are largely left to “fly blind.” As a result leadership development within our nonprofits is so inadequate that around half of nonprofit boards looking to hire executive directors have had to go outside of the organization. Fresh ideas can be good, but leadership continuity can be incredibly important too.

Building on the existing research

Nonprofit leaders don’t have time to make it up as they go. So we’re partnering with organizations like the Utah Nonprofit Association, NonprofitHUB, Bloomerang, Blackbaud, StratusLIVE, and DonorSearch to help fix that. Today, we’re launching a survey to help take a snapshot of where nonprofits are and uncover best practices that are easy to implement.

Unlike many studies, this study isn’t limited to the board room or the C-suite. We believe leadership can be exercised at all levels of a nonprofit. So this survey is open to all nonprofit roles – board, executive directors, senior leaders, middle managers, frontline staff, and volunteers.

Will you help spread the word?

Our nonprofits are vital to our communities. But we don’t have the klout to lobby for “bailouts” like the financial industry did. Nor do we want to. We’re smart enough to figure this crisis out for ourselves.

Would you take the survey? The survey is only about 10 minutes. You can find it at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NPLeadership2015

And would you share it with others? The link on the Concord Leadership Group page is:

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