Leadership deficit

Over the next decade the nonprofit sector will need to recruit about 640,000 new senior staffers to meet its growth needs, a new white paper says.

That equates to 2.4 time the number of leaders now employed and means an additional 80,000 leaders must be hired each year, the paper says.

“The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit,” written by Thomas J. Tierney and published by the Bridgespan Group in Boston, says the leadership crunch comes at a time when society increasingly is relying on the sector to address societal issues.

The paper is based on a study of nonprofits with revenues greater than $250,000 per year and excludes major health care groups and colleges and universities.

If the sector consolidates over the next 10 years, the number of new leaders needed could fall as low as 330,000, the paper says, but it is also possible more than one million new leaders will be required if historic trends continue.

Several factors contribute to the leadership deficit, the paper says, including baby boomer retirement, lack of internal resources for staff development, and a lack of career mobility for current leaders.

The paper encourages nonprofits to invest in developing their leadership capacity, even if that means diverting some of their resources to cover overhead costs.

Nonprofits also must develop competitive compensation packages to help recruit and retain high-quality leaders, the paper says.

To reach a larger group of possible leaders, nonprofits should broaden recruitment pools and strategies to reach baby boomers who want to keep working, people interested in mid-life career changes, and younger people, the paper says.

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