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Non-Profit Leadership: A Few Tips

In this day and age it takes more than just being a boss to be a non-profit leader. They need a comprehensive set of financial, operational and executive skills that combine the best qualities of corporate-world “c-level- executives.

Today nonprofits are faced with a rough road ahead because of the problems with increasing turnover and decreasing revenue. These leaders act now like the c-executives who have to grow their programs, bring more money and use their resources more effectively. Today it is different than what used to be where they were continuously supplied with resources but now they have to come up with programs that transform into something that will sustain the organization. It is designed in a way that its survival depends on itself.

Non-profit leadership is now facing this kind of problem. This might come as a surprise but behind every non-profit leader is their drive to administer a program, and they do not see the value of building a strong business foundation- and may even resist doing so because they see “business” as a direct conflict to their “mission”. This kind of outlook is quite wrong in that is can cause damage when funding programs dwindle or are halted. This will sustain what was started because it cannot sustain its own activity. It is not only funding that gives them difficulties but even the human resources of these organizations are having problems. The problem is that there are organizations with no recruitment strategy or any form of succession plan.

What can we conclude then?

Since non-profits are typically organized into major functional areas, such as: central administration, governance, and programming, the leadership must learn never to neglect less essential functions when resources start to dry up and put more priority in those highly prioritized levels of the organization. You can allow it to be stretched thin but never drop the following essential functions since when they begin to weaken, it will affect the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission.

It cannot be overstated that the organization need a strong non-profit board. Since they are the ones with community connections they are the front runners of the organization. They communicate to the donors what the organization is all about.

Non-profit must also recognize the need to regularly assess and evaluate programs and operations in order to better target their constituency, maintain morale and keep their organization energized. Evaluation should not be excluded for more essential functions that must be sustained. As mentioned earlier, the need to focus on leadership transition, the need to find new ways to recruit and cultivate “next generation” organizational leaders must never be neglected.

There should also be emphasis on financial management and fundraising.

Source: Wayne Pacelle

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