NonProfit PRO Leadership Conference: 8 Nonprofit Leadership, Board Trends for 2015
NonProfit PRO is hosting its inaugural Nonprofit Leadership Conference May 5 in Washington, D.C. View more details here and register here. Use the promo code NPPNEWS for $50 off the full registration price.
The conference will tackle leadership issues for nonprofits of all sizes and missions, hitting on topics that range from:
- Shifting thinking from a scarcity mind-set to an opportunity mind-set
- Working with a difficult board
- Breaking down silos within an organization
- Seeking out untapped resources
- Dealing with legal issues
- Assessing risk
- Branding your organization
- Fostering collaboration
- And so much more
Heading in to 2015 NonProfit PRO rounded up some of the nonprofit industry’s finest, who were kind enough to share their nonprofit trends for 2015, including these eight trends on nonprofit leadership and boards of directors.
Richard Perry, founding partner, and Jeff Schreifels, senior partner, Veritus Group
1. Nonprofit leaders and donors valuing impact and outcomes of nonprofit programs vs. how much they spend on overhead. This trend is professionalizing nonprofit personnel and infrastructure and moving organizations to operate more effectively, efficiently and professionally. There will be more emphasis and resources allocated toward reporting back on impact from nonprofits.
2. A move from power and control on the part of leaders and managers to participative involvement by all: donors, staff, board, etc.
3. An increase in ethical behavior, truth-telling, transparency and openness as donors continue to demand it and general and social media expose its lack.
Allison Porter, president, Avalon Consulting Group
4. The overhead myth is holding less sway, but we aren’t there yet. We are chipping away at the assumption that nonprofits should do the best they can on shoestring budgets and replacing it with the more nuanced mind-set that nonprofits should invest responsibly in strategic opportunities for impact and growth. 2014 brought more visibility to this issue, including some inspiring industry conversations around charity evaluators, strategic overhead ratios and donor perceptions. I’m determined to continue advancing this conversation in 2015, and I hope to see proactive effort on the part of the whole fundraising community — to bring this issue to the press in a positive way, to get clear on organizational messaging and to advocate tirelessly on behalf of the strategies that will best advance your missions.
Sarah Durham, president, Big Duck
5. Over the past few years, nonprofits are increasingly looking inward at their operations, technology, infrastructure and staff capacity. Creating mission-centric programs is still central, but as the sector matures, more and more leaders understand that it takes more than just great programs to advance a mission, especially in tougher fundraising climates. I see this playing out largely in two areas.
Yesterday’s executive directors are now increasingly called CEOs, and they are running nonprofits with a sharper focus on communications, development, HR and more traditionally “for-profit,” business-like strategies. In 2015, I expect we’ll see that trend continue: Increasingly, CEOs understand that communicating well externally requires communicating well internally, too.
Here’s how I think it shakes out: In the past, the focus of was almost entirely on “the stuff that gets sent out.” These days, more nonprofits are (wisely) prioritizing building a team of strong communicators internally, coordinating the messages that donors and other external audiences receive, and building a healthy work culture. That means making sure the right people are hired, giving them better support to build their skills, integrating values into daily decision-making, and working to break down departmental silos and barriers.
6. Another outgrowth of this more internal, capacity-oriented point of view is an increased use of rebranding as a strategy to help align staff internally around how to communicate and boost revenue. Big Duck and FDR Group’s 2014 study, “The Rebrand Effect,” noted that 92 percent of participating organizations rebranded to communicate more effectively, with fundraising as a leading motivator to do so; 58 percent of participants have more confidence in their staff’s ability to communicate well on behalf of the nonprofit and to use the new brand to help assess things like the alignment of programs, for examples.
Although many of the participants worked at organizations that had rebranded very recently (in the past two years) and weren’t sure what the net gain might be, 50 percent of participants observed an increase in the revenue of their organization since they rebranded. The research also showed that new leadership and a new strategic plan or focus helped.
All of this focus on internal capacity is in the spirit of working smarter, more effectively and toward the mission. In 2015, I hope we also begin to see a greater alignment between technologies (fundraising software, databases, email service providers, marketing automation software) and people, too. The more leadership, staff and technologies are aligned, the more effective nonprofits will be at fundraising, communicating effectively and achieving their missions.
Pamela Barden, consultant, P J Barden Inc.
7. A board of directors that is qualified, engaged, passionate about the mission and committed is essential for nonprofit success. This requires training board members both in the role of a nonprofit board and in the nuances of the organization, communicating, engaging the board regularly and (as staff) being willing to be “directed.” Nonprofits that are led by value-adding boards are a step ahead when it comes to long-term growth.
Wayne Luke, managing partner, nonprofit practice, Witt/Kieffer
8. Identify key philanthropy leadership. In order to bring growth, key qualities for philanthropy leaders in 2015 include experience creating and deploying new programs and identifying and tapping fresh sources of funding. Some of these leaders may be “bridgers” who originate from the for-profit space and are transitioning to not-for-profit organizations with invaluable relationship management, business development, leadership and management experience.
Learn more about nonprofit leadership at the inaugural NonProfit PRO Leadership Conference. Again, the conference takes place May 5 in Washington, D.C. View more details here and register here. Use the promo code NPPNEWS for $50 off the full registration price.
We've lined up four great speakers for the Leadership Conference:
- Larry C Johnson, philanthropy coach, speaker, author and founder of The Eight Principles
- Richard Rumsey, vice president of development and communications at Project HOPE
- Tracy-Elizabeth Clay, senior vice president, legal affairs, general counsel and board secretary of Teach for America
- Paul Bellantone, president and CEO of Promotional Products Association International
In addition to the four presentations, there will be two smaller roundtable sessions to discuss some of the hottest topics in the nonprofit sector.
So save the date and join us May 5 in the nation's capital. View more details here, and register today! And remember, use the promo code "NPPNEWS" for a $50 discount!