Report That Nonprofit Leadership Gap Grew 43 Percent Sparks “Call to Action” by Sector Stakeholders
BOSTON, May 20, 2009 — The Bridgespan Group’s recent report, “Finding Leaders for America’s Nonprofits,” which predicts a deficit of sector leadership of more than 20,000 for 2009, has spurred vigorous dialogue among nonprofit leaders and the foundations that support them.
The survey of 433 U.S. nonprofit leaders was commissioned by American Express 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. A follow up to a 2006 study “The Nonprofit Sector’s Leaders Deficit,” the survey reveals a gap 43 percent wider than the Bridgespan Group’s prior findings.
“(Our…) experiences with our grantees reflect many of the study’s findings,” noted Matt Bannick, Managing Partner, Omidyar Network. “At the core of Bridgespan’s research is the idea that the quality of the leadership team—both the executive management and the board—determines the success of the organization.”
Leaders in the nonprofit sector also see the widening gap as a call-to-action.
According to Wendy Puriefoy, President, Public Education Network, “The field needs a strategic intervention … because the effective work and the impact potential of the entire nonprofit field is at risk … Because of the Bridgespan Group’s studies we know definitively the scope of the problems we face and that the solution for nonprofit effectiveness is in the employment and development of top leadership talent, a sound strategic/business plan with clear metrics for success, and the application of resources.”
Carol S. Larson, President and CEO, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, commented, “Meeting tomorrow’s leadership needs in nonprofits will require providing multiple pathways and tapping into a diverse pool of talent….(T)his includes encouraging the interest of, and breaking down barriers for, leaders with for-profit experience to bring their experience and skills to bear in the nonprofit sector… to pay more attention to creating a flow of talent among nonprofits and to developing career ladders… for the many talented individuals already working in the sector.”