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Non-Profit Leadership: A Few Tips

Today’s nonprofit leader needs to be more than just “the boss”. What they need is a comprehensive set of financial, operational and executive skills which combines the best qualities of corporate world c-level executives.

It has been reported in recent surveys that there is a rough road ahead for nonprofits because of 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. The design is something that it can survive on its own.

This is now the problems that non-profit leadership is facing. 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 thinking is very damaging because it can be difficult to fund a program and it can dwindle and halted. When the funding is halted then it can defeat everything that they have started since it is not able to sustain the activities that they have set. Furthermore, it cannot only financially sustain itself, but the structure of non-profit organizations has its own difficulty in terms of its human resource. The problem is that there are organizations with no recruitment strategy or any form of succession plan.

What can we conclude then?

Non-profit organizations are typically divided into major functions such as central administration, governance, and programming, so the leadership must not neglect less essential functions when there are dwindling resources and more emphasis should be put on high priority levels of the organization. So even if it is already stretched thin, the essential functions should not be dropped because is they begin to weaken the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission will be affected.

The need for a strong non-profit board cannot be overstated. Since they are the ones with community connections they are the front runners of the organization. They make the donors understand the functions of the organization.

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 is important and must not be shelved for the sake of more essential functions that need to 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.

Financial management and fundraising are very important to the organization and should not be neglected.

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