According to a survey conducted last fall of 3,000 executives, staff, board members and donors, four of five nonprofits struggle with leadership and management issues.
As a consultant and former head of a nonprofit organization, I have seen the struggles that they face first-hand.
The Stanford Survey on Leadership and Management in the Nonprofit Sector found the following were among some of the most common challenges for nonprofits:
56 percent struggle with weak board governance;
52 percent struggle with fundraising;
Half struggle with impact evaluation;
52 percent are not ready to scale their impact because they exhibit “weakness in strategic thinking,” such as, mission, strategy, impact evaluation, or insight and courage;” and,
27 percent exhibit “weakness in strategic management,” such as, organization and talent, funding, or board governance, despite exhibiting strong strategic thinking.
Additionally, research by Meehan and Jonker on high-performance nonprofits suggested seven essential components of strategic leadership that are needed to maximize impact:
Mission – a focused, clearly-defined statement of purpose;
Strategy – a strategic framework based strictly on what matters most;
Impact Evaluation – a system to measure impact;
Insight and Courage – a commitment to applying heart and soul to each decision;
Organization and Talent – a superb team to build and sustain high performance;
Funding – an ability to build strategic revenue channels and to tap the right donors; and,
Board Governance – a strong, effective board of directors.
High-performing nonprofits need more than a compelling mission. Leadership and management are imperative for a nonprofit organization to succeed.