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How Can Nonprofits Train Their Future Leaders?

Posted By Laurel Westmoreland, Education Associate, Friday, May 19, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 18, 2017

Content repurposed from University of San Francisco


This week we’re continuing our spotlight on succession planning research put out by University of San FranciscoBecause “the skills that leaders needed to manage successfully a decade ago may not be the best set of skills required of younger leaders today,” there is some important information here to bear in mind when thinking about the future of your organization.  Whether your focus is 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.


How Can Nonprofits Train Their Future Leaders?

The most important approach that nonprofits can take to train future leaders is to help them build the skills necessary to make them efficient managers. Furthermore, nonprofits should also develop strategies to encourage these leaders-in-waiting to remain in the organization and in the industry. This is the only way for their skills to be fully utilized and for nonprofits to benefit from their investment.


Nonprofits should also make leadership opportunities available to a diverse group of workers to encourage increased interest in training and improving their experience. Nonprofit employees should also be encouraged to expand their knowledge by working on independent projects. This will help improve their abilities and test their current skill level. For example, new or incoming employees may be encouraged to work on a challenging project to see how much of an impact they can make.

It is also a good idea for nonprofits to promote the most desirable elements that define effective leaders in the private and public sectors. These include:

  • Promoting open communication
  • Offering support for individuals
  • Efficient allocation of resources
  • Removing obstacles
  • Promoting sponsor innovation

Another key strategic step that nonprofit organizations can implement is to establish mentorships wherein younger, less experienced employees can learn from current organization leaders through coaching, direct interaction and learning. About 71% of surveyed Fortune 500 companies already offer their employees varying types of mentoring opportunities.

As a critical component of the internal training system, nonprofit leaders should also be encouraged to learn more about how to manage important issues that affect the organization and the society they are in. These issues include culture, values, motivation, renewal and social cohesion.

Lastly, nonprofits should attract more quality employees and future leaders, and encourage them to stay by offering better salaries and benefits. More often than not, nonprofits offer lower salaries than the majority of private companies, although generally nonprofits tend to provide benefits and other non-cash incentives as part of their total compensation package.

How Succession Planning Can Help Nonprofit Organizations

One of the most important strategies that nonprofit board members must use is insourcing: that is, finding new leaders from the ranks of the organization’s current employees. Transitions in leadership can often cause a vulnerability in an organization, and may even cause a loss of institutional knowledge and brand values. Succession planning also allows nonprofits to learn how to respond and adapt to changes, particularly the kind that create new leadership roles and needs.

Steps for Successful Succession Planning

Succession planning allows nonprofits to help employees make an effective transition from one role to another without reducing their efficacy and efficiency. To ensure proper succession, here are key steps to follow:

Include grant makers and senior leaders in the process.

Senior leaders have the experience and skills necessary to train new leaders for future positions, while grant makers create the opportunities for the organization to continue its work, sustain its function and meet its goals.

Engage younger talent for future skill development.

The skills that leaders needed to manage successfully a decade ago may not be the best set of skills required of younger leaders today. Nonprofit organizations should be able to adapt to change, and new incoming talent must be trained with the right skills to help them become effective leaders.

Find new talent to meet the organization’s needs.

No transition is perfect, and it is quite possible there will be areas in the organization that may not have the right match in terms of talent. In addition, changes in the industry may have created new roles that the current talent pool may not be able to fill. If employees within the organization do not have the right training, skills and experience for the job, then new talent should be tapped.

Provide in-house leadership training.

Senior leaders in nonprofits will eventually leave the workplace due to retirement and other factors. To prepare for the new vacancy, nonprofits should provide training opportunities for current staff to help them develop leadership skills. To keep the organization stable, nonprofits should also find ways to retain their workers so they thrive in their leadership positions, and become mature and effective members and leaders of society.


At the NLC, we’re here to help you make the most of this opportunity—it’s kind of our thing!  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 engagement opportunities at every level.



Tags:  development  leaders  leadership  nonprofit  succession  train  training 

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2017 Leadership Conference, As Captured by Social Media

Posted By Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications, Friday, May 12, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the volunteers, sponsors, exhibitors, breakout participants, and attendees who made our sold-out 7th annual Leadership Conference on Wednesday a day to remember!! 

Team NLC is overwhelmed by the positive response from our 700+ guests and participants. We're basking in the afterglow. 

We'll be back in a week or so with a recap post--and some follow up to dig into what we all learned about our Fascination Advantages.

But for today, let's just revel in the many and varied social media posts our guests, participants, and social media ambassadors shared!


We love how so many folks shared their excitement over their Primary and Secondary Fascination Advantages!


Then there were the folks who were sharing what they were doing--and even asking for input (where should I go next?)!!


If you couldn't join us, peruse these takeaways people shared as they had aha moments throughout the day. 


And kudos to Echo Analytics Group for their eye-catching, scroll-arresting graphic posts!!



Speaker Sally Hogshead made the Keynote a participatory event, calling up our CEO, our presenting sponsor, a funder, and a Board member to discuss their Advantages on stage:


And just a couple of (FUN!) posts grabbed from our newest channel, Snapchat, with a filter created especially for our event by our Planning Committee and NLC Board member, Chris Johnson. (Full disclosure: I still need to get the hang of this channel. Practice makers perfect, no?) Thanks again to our Social Media Ambassadors who rocked it on every channel!!


We thought the day went very well, and our guests reinforced that impression with their posts.



And we don't think we could have said this better ourselves, though we did chime in: 


So, once again, thank you to our 2017 Leadership Conference sponsors!


Tags:  breakouts  commenting  fascination advantage  leadership conference  likes  nonprofit leadership center  posting  sally hogshead  sharing  social media  sponsors 

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Team NLC is Fascinating--and So Are You!

Posted By Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications, Friday, May 5, 2017
Updated: Thursday, May 4, 2017

We're just a few days away from our (sold out!) 7th annual Leadership Conference with Keynote Speaker Sally Hogshead on May 10th. Because Team NLC has an active learning culture, we’ve been having a grand time learning our registered guests' Fascination Advantage assessment results via a veritable flood of phone calls, emails, and social media posts!

If you're joining us on May 10th and haven't yet completed your assessment, there's still time. Be sure to use the link and code in one of our pre-Conference communications to get your own Fascination report. Share your results via social media and be sure to bring your report to Conference to get the maximum benefit from the Keynote. 

Sally's Fascination Advantage assessment revealed that our team is composed of five different Personality Archetypes:

  • Our CEO Emily is the Avant Garde. Her advantages are Prestige and Innovation.
  • Director of Strategic Solutions Tuesdi Dyer is the Connoisseur, with advantages Prestige and Passion.
  • Education Associate Laurel Westmoreland in our Rockstar; her advantages are Innovation and Passion.
  • Operations Manager Lorraine Faithful is the Good Citizen, with advantages Trust and Alert.
  • Director of Education and Communications Jen Dodd is the Intrigue. Her advantages are Passion and Mystique. 

The NLC Board of Directors and Leadership Conference Planning Committee members have also completed the assessment and shared their two primary advantages with us. We've had some very interesting follow-up conversations and exercises during recent meetings that have helped us understand how each person brings very distinct and valuable characteristics to the table.

We're excited that Conference attendees will be able to quickly identify each other's Fascination Advantages thanks to specially designed ribbons they'll pick up ion the Exhibit Hall.... But we don't want to spoil the surprise: you'll just have to wait and see!  

But this Conference isn't about sitting and listening. There is work to be done!

First, our guests will choose 2 of 6 breakouts to participate in during the morning--you can see the line-up (and get a jump on your breakout selections!) here

And during the Keynote with Sally Hogshead, you'll be digging into your individual Fascination Advantage reports and creating your own Brand Anthem. 

Our team worked on our own brand anthems during a recent planning retreat, and we know you're going to gain real insight not only into yourself but also your teammates.

We've found that knowing each other's Brand Anthem has helped us to work together more efficiently--and with even more enjoyment!

If you're wondering, here are our anthems:

  • Emily delivers Creative Results.
  • Tuesdi brings Unconventional Insight.
  • Laurel contributes Unfettered Idealism.
  • Lorraine generates Reliable Information.
  • Jen fosters Insightful Innovation.

So our best advice for Leadership Conference is to arrive early and be prepared to gain crucial insights into how the world sees you!

Thank You to Our 2017 Leadership Conference Sponsors


Tags:  assessment  communication  fascination  leadership conference  nonprofit leadership center  professional development 

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Top 5 Things to Know About the 7th annual Leadership Conference

Posted By Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications, Friday, April 28, 2017
Updated: Thursday, April 27, 2017

#HappyFriday is something we here at the NLC have celebrated since late 2015 when we started working with last year's Leadership Conference Keynote Speaker, Shawn Achor.

And you better believe we're enjoying a #HappyFriday today! Team NLC is absolutely thrilled to be hosting a sold-out crowd of 700+ lifelong learners at our 2017 Leadership Conference on May 10th. 

We’re excited to offer 6 breakout sessions again this year and that our guests will share an incredible personal and professional development experience with our 2017 Keynote Speaker, Sally Hogshead.

 We’ll be communicating more detailed information as the event date nears but on this #HappyFriday, here are the Top 5 things you (and your guests) need to know about Leadership Conference:

5. You're going to have the chance to network with so many more people and organizations. With a sold out crowd of 700+, you've never had a better chance to meet new peers and forge new connections. Practice to 10/5 rule we all learned at last year's Conference as you move between the Exhibit Hall, breakout rooms, and the ballroom over the course of the day. Wear your corporate name tag and bring business cards! Take advantage of one-stop-shopping as you examine the varied products and services our Exhibitors have to share. 

4. The more, the merrier. We’ve tapped 13 (!!) experts to teach us all how to be more authentic and inclusive in our rich and diverse personal and professional spheres. You and your guests will be part of working breakout sessions where you'll learn proven techniques and create individual action plans to change the way you approach every interaction. Give yourself and your guests a leg up on other attendees by sharing the link to our 2017 Leadership Conference page with them so you can each start thinking about which 2 (of the 6) breakout sessions you'll attend.

3. Power lunches are back. Make use of the seated luncheon in the ballroom to network and swap takeaways with your table mates. We're providing post it pads again this year, so you can write down your aha moments and share your impact statements with us at the end of the Conference. And our Dessert Sponsor, My Benefit Partners, has arranged a truly sweet treat during the Keynote.

2. Parking’s on us! NLC is happy to pick up the tab for parking for everyone attending Leadership Conference. And here’s an insider tip: while parking in the TCC lot at 333 S. Franklin fine, you will probably find that parking in the South Regional Garage at 301 Channelside Drive will be easier. (Check your email in box for handy driving directions.) 

1. The early bird gets the worm--and beats traffic! Doors open at 8 am, and we’ve packed the schedule with incredible personal and professional development opportunities at every turn: Breakouts begin at 9:15 and 10:30. The Keynote with Sally Hogshead will start promptly at 12:00 noon. Purchase a copy of Sally's book from our friends at the Barnes & Noble table and join us for a book signing immediately after the Keynote session. For a more detailed timeline, see our 2017 Leadership Conference page .

And as a bonus, here’s Sally with a personal message to get you excited for the 2017 Leadership Conference!!

If you're registered to attend, expect additional details via email over the next week or so, and the Leadership Conference page on our web site is always a great resource. Plus we’re here to answer any questions! 

If you're not already registered, you can join our waiting list by emailing at us (And don't forget to subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter so you're among the first to know about the 2018 Leadership Conference!)



Tags:  assessment  fascination advantage  leadership conference  professional development  sally hogshead  tampa convention center 

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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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