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What Issues Do Nonprofit Leaders Face Today?

As a nonprofit leader, you want to understand the changing dynamics in the nonprofit sector. From demographics to economics, the shifts create opportunities and challenges for all nonprofit leaders. These issues confront new and  veteran leaders. With ever-growing needs for services provided by nonprofits and ever-tightening financial resources, effective leadership is needed now, more than ever before. Trends nonprofits face in 2014.

Where Can Nonprofit Leaders Find Support?

Whether you never expected to be a nonprofit leader, or have always planned to be one, joining your State Association of nonprofits is a great way to stay current with issues that affect the operations of your nonprofit and with professional development opportunities. Many State Associations of nonprofits offer leadership programs. Your State Association will keep you and your nonprofit connected to issues that impact your mission, your funding, and the policy environment in your state that enables your nonprofit to thrive. You'll meet other leaders and be inspired. Here are ten reasons to join your state association.

Important topics for nonprofit leaders:

  • Conduct a Leadership Self-Assessment to determine what aspects of leadership training might be most helpful to you. (National School Boards Association)
  • Challenges shared by over 300 nonprofit executives are reported in Daring to Lead 2011. (CompassPoint)
  • Setting Priorities and Delegating Duties. One of the biggest challenges for nonprofit leaders, is knowing what fire to put out first. The report, Leadership Priorities: What Facets of Management Shouldn’t You Delegate? (Bridgespan) argues that aligning staff around the organization’s strategic priorities, and developing its next leaders, should never be delegated.
  • Knowing Your “Leadership Blindspot." We all have them. Beware Your Leadership Blindspots, suggests tips, including getting 360-degree feedback, to help leaders "improve their leadership eyesight." (Bridgespan)
  • Developing Next Generation Leadership. The Millennial Impact Report describes characteristics of emerging leaders. Tips for working with Millenials.
  • Coaching: Resources on coaching as a strategy for developing and supporting nonprofit leadership. (CompassPoint)
  • Leadership transition. Read about both planned and emergency leadership transitions from the Council of Nonprofits’ resources on Succession Planning.
  • Interim Executive Directors. Why and how to hire an interim director. (Source: North Carolina Center for Nonprofits)

Other Resources

There are many excellent publications on leadership. One of our favorites is The Leadership Challenge, by James Kouzes & Barry Posner. The Council of Nonprofits' online bookstore has a good number of titles on the subject of leadership.