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Where Have All Our Leaders Gone?

Posted By Laurel Westmoreland, Education Associate, Friday, April 21, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Whether you’re thinking about succession planning specifically or leadership development in general, statistics highlight the growing need for nonprofits to prioritize staff training and development in order to cultivate the strong nonprofit leaders of the future.

 Take, for instance, this highly helpful--and wonderfully illustrated--information from University of San Francisco that looks at why nonprofits are facing a leadership drain and how organizations can best prepare for it.

 Content and infographic originally published by University of San Francisco


What Statistics Show About Nonprofit Succession Planning

There is a decline in the number of leaders in nonprofits as a result of employees leaving their organizations to work elsewhere or retire. About 50 million jobs are estimated to become available within the next 10 years starting in 2012. Of these new openings, around 62% will be due to retirement.

To this day, the top organizational concern among nonprofit leaders is still the challenge of finding fresh manpower to fill vacated leadership positions. Nonprofits also see a 43% increase in the availability of jobs in C-level positions including CEO, CTO and CIO—positions that require specific skill sets and work experience.

Challenges That Nonprofits Face

Other than manpower, about 40% of nonprofit organizations believe skill gaps in the workforce can make finding the right match for the job a challenge. About 43% of these organizations expect an increase in the need to train incoming employees to make them suitable for their future jobs.

Qualities of the Best Nonprofit Leaders

The unique needs of nonprofit jobs require a unique set of qualities for future leaders. These qualities include:

  • Willingness to collaborate within all levels of the organization
  • Commitment to the mission of the nonprofit and capability to understand its role in attaining its broader goal
  • Intelligence, perceptiveness, trustworthiness and persuasive abilities
  • Proactive and passionate about the role of nonprofits
  • Patient, adaptable and inspiring
  • Excellent skill level and experience in finance and executive roles
  • Capable of encouraging open communication among co-workers and partners
  • Ability to promote strong teamwork
  • Excellent understanding about the organization
  • Willingness to work with other organizations.


At the NLC, we’re here to help you make the most of this opportunity; we deliver professional development and training at every level—from program staff to executive leadership to the Board—through high-quality in-classroom, online, and custom training.


Our Director of Strategic Development, Tuesdi Dyer, CFRE helps nonprofits find the best fit for their unique needs with a constellation of custom engagement opportunities at every level.




Tags:  leadership  nonprofit  nonprofit leadership center  succession planning  transition 

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