Nonprofit Leadership Crunch

Nonprofit organizations are facing an “unprecedented” crisis in leadership, according to a national report released jointly by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Meyer Foundation and

Organizations nationwide are struggling to recruit and train staff, and to overcome the perception by young talent that a career in the nonprofit sector means work-life imbalance, a low earnings potential, a lack of mentorship and overwhelming fundraising responsibilities.

More than 6,000 young working adults were surveyed. Among the key findings:

*One in three respondents aspires to be the executive director of a nonprofit someday.
*Of respondents who aspire to become executive directors, 40 percent report that they are ready now, or will be within five years.
*The nonprofit sector is viewed as a desirable place to work and to seek future employment by people interested in social change.
*Most respondents working in the nonprofit sector feel that they have meaningful and satisfying work.

Despite those hopeful signs, substantial barriers exist, inlcuding:
*Long hours and compromised personal lives associated with executive leadership.
*Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed reported financial concerns about committing to a career in the nonprofit sector.
*Lack of mentorship and support from incumbent executives in helping to pave a career path are serious frustrations for many next generation leaders.
*Inherent nonprofit structural limitations and obscure avenues to career advancement.

The full report, "Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out" is available free online at

Does this report reflect what’s going on at your organization? Do you have any ideas or examples about coping with it?


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