Nonprofits Seek to Fill 24,000 Leadership Roles in Downturn
BOSTON, MA, April 20, 2009 — A newly released Bridgespan Group survey of U.S. nonprofit executive directors shows that a leadership deficit forecast in 2006 may have widened last year. Meanwhile, in 2009, despite tightening budgets, nonprofits already foresee a need to fill 24,000 vacant or new roles in areas like finance and fundraising, amid increasing management complexity and baby boomer retirements. Developing leaders within the sector remains critical. In addition, three quarters of respondents saw value in “bridging” talent in from outside the sector to fill the gap, but underscored the need for cultural adaptation. Study findings will be presented at the American Express Nonprofit Leadership Academy taking place from April 27th-May 1st in New York.
American Express commissioned Bridgespan to conduct the survey in order to determine the nature and dimensions of the evolving nonprofit leadership deficit, the training and development needs within the sector, and to look at how managerial skills from the business sector can boost leadership capacity among nonprofits. The leadership vacancy anticipated so far for 2009 includes 24,000 managerial slots. Respondents reported that actual senior job openings in 2008 were running at 77,000, or 43% above a leadership gap forecast in Bridgespan’s 2006 study “The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit.”
Twenty-five percent of nonprofit leadership vacancies in the past 18 months were filled through career progression, 41% through in-sector hiring, and 21% via bridging talent in from the corporate sector. Survey respondents highlighted that there is strong competition for the same in-sector talent pool and a lack of resources to find or cultivate new leaders from within nonprofit organizations.
“We recognize the need - now more than ever - to develop leaders within the nonprofit sector who have the power to impact business, the community and society,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president, American Express Foundation. “This survey underscores the importance of an increased focus in this area, and we are committed to helping future nonprofit leaders build and hone their skills to most effectively transition into those leadership positions.”