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Aspiring nonprofit chiefs cite barriers

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About a third of likely leaders of the next generation have set their sights on running a nonprofit, but several barriers stand in their way, a new study says.

Inadequate long-term compensation and work-life balance are among the challenges aspiring executive directors face, says “Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out,” a study by the Meyer Foundation, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Idealist.org.

Massive fundraising responsibilities and a lack of mentoring also make potential leaders wary.

In a survey of 6,000 “next generation leaders,” almost seven in 10 respondents feel underpaid in their current jobs, and almost two in three are leery of committing to nonprofit careers for the long-term.

While only a third of the people surveyed aspire to lead a nonprofit, a larger share of those who do are people of color, the study says.

Among those aiming to lead an organization, four in 10 believe they are ready for the post now, or will be within five years.

In general, people employed in the sector say their work is important and satisfying, and those interested in creating social change tend to be drawn to the sector.

Fewer than one in 20 young nonprofit staffers say they are being groomed for leadership, the study says, with men reporting such development at a higher rate than women.

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