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Leadership for future seen lacking

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The much-anticipated leadership crisis in the nonprofit sector has arrived and current and future leaders are not ready, a new report says.

The report is a summary of a conference of more than 100 current and future nonprofit leaders from across who gathered for “NP2020: Issues and Answers From the Next Generation,” hosted by the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Leadership at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

The leadership deficit is a current issue, not a future one, participants said.

That is largely because leadership training and professional development are lacking for staffers who hope to become executive directors, they said.

Mentoring is another critical element in preparing future leaders, said conference participants, who encourage aspiring leaders to seek out mentoring relationships with sector veterans.

Some at the conference questioned whether it is possible to have a long-term career in nonprofits, citing low pay, burnout, the burden of student loans and generation gaps within organizations.

The younger people at the conference saw diversity as lacking both among staffs and boards, a development they said affects how services are delivered and how well organizations understand the communities they serve.

To address these issues, participants said funders should support training and development for staffs and boards, and that sector leaders should organize more events that bring together current and future leaders.

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