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Leadership trends

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Nonprofits are looking for a new breed of leaders.

Faced with changing expectations from donors, volunteers, funding organizations, government and the public, nonprofits increasingly are working to define the respective roles their staffs, boards and volunteer leaders should play.

A growing number of nonprofits recognize that the role of the board is critical and changes over time based on the organization’s stage of life.

More nonprofits also are beginning to see that the role the board must play in developing a philanthropic culture is critical at all stages of the organization’s life.

So boards are working to tie the organization’s mission to the larger mission of giving within the community the organization serves.

The face of America is changing through a massive shift in generations and increasing diversity based such factors as race, ethnicity, age, gender and sexual orientation.

Those changes give nonprofits both the challenge and opportunity to enlist new leaders for their staffs, boards and volunteer fundraising.

With rising pressure to be more open and accessible, nonprofits also face big challenges in their governance.

Nonprofits throughout the U.S. are strengthening their governance and reporting policies to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley law Congress enacted in 2002 in the face of corporate scandals.

Nonprofits also are looking harder at their ethics policies.

And with greater collaboration, an emerging governance issue is how groups that work together can develop processes for making decisions together on issues that affect all of them.

Nonprofits also are getting more involved in advocacy and policy work, looking for ways to shape public policies that affect the charitable marketplace and the people it serves.

And a small but growing number of nonprofits and foundations are becoming more active investors and shareholders, aligning their investments with their mission, and using their proxy power to try to help shape the policies and strategies of the companies in which they own stock.

To address nonprofits’ needs for more effective and professional staff, board and volunteer leaders, a growing number of leadership-development and peer-to-peer networks have emerged, offering a broad range of training and continuing-education programs.

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