Some Stats Nonprofit Leaders Can’t Ignore

Sometimes stats speak for themselves and don’t require a lot of interpretation. That was the “aha” I got after reading through the recently released 2016 Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report.

Why would an executive director lead the organization through such a resource-intensive effort and then not use it to
guide the performance of the people that are expected to achieve the objectives outlined in the strategic plan?


“We don’t have the resources to do a good job on these types of strategic initiatives”. Got it…so we should see a Strategic plan not tied to performanceconsiderable difference when a nonprofit has a bigger budget, right? Not so, as the last bar on the graph indicates.
I think it is time to look at the “under-resourced” issue through another lens.
I know there are many that feel nonprofit leaders are in this situation because they haven’t been given the money and support from funders to focus on leadership initiatives.

True, but…

There has to be something else going on because 95% of the survey respondents were confident in their personal leadership abilities, and 91% were confident in their ability to help the nonprofit accomplish its goals.

Clearly, there’s a disconnect.Slide2

If we have any hope of shrinking the leadership gap in the nonprofit sector we need to challenge the premise that you can be an effective leader without engaging in the practice of leadership. As John Maxwell would say, an executive director’s leadership ability (knowledge, understanding and application) is always the lid on personal and organizational effectiveness.

When boards really get that, they will be uncompromising in hiring and cultivating unsung heroes with great leadership potential. When executive directors really get that, they will recognize that leading the organization towards its vision is their only mission. When funders really get that, they will invest in nothing less.