Sabbaticals seen boosting nonprofits

Contrary to the worries of some nonprofit boards and executives, sabbaticals for nonprofit leaders can extend CEOs’ tenure and boost their confidence, a new study says.

The report was commission by a group of funders that jointly have sponsored 325 sabbaticals for nonprofit executives over the past decade.

Nonprofit CEOs who took sabbaticals were more likely to stay on the job longer, and they reported an improvement in their relationships with their staff, board, funders and the communities they serve.

Almost nine in 10 of the executives surveyed say they experience increase the confidence they felt in doing their jobs.

At the same time, second-tier managers were given the opportunity to assume additional responsibilities and develop skills.

And governing bodies benefited from the practice, with six in 10 nonprofits reporting their boards were more effective after their executives took sabbaticals.

The sabbatical process also was a good “dry run” for succession planning and future leadership transitions, the report says.

The report was commissioned by the Alston/Bannerman Fellowship Program, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, the Durfee Foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and the Barr Foundation and the Rasmuson Foundation.

The survey was conducted by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and Third Sector New England.

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