Concord Leadership Group Releases New Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report

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Nonprofit Sector Leadership ReportSurvey results pinpoint major pain points for nonprofit leadership

Nonprofit leaders need to share this study with their team and make this report part of their organization’s professional development.

Most nonprofits are struggling to grow leaders and retain donors — threatening their very existence and the services they provide to the communities they serve.

Recent research shows that nonprofits are struggling in three areas: basic strategic planning, communicating their story, and regular performance evaluations.

Concord Leadership Group, in partnership with Bloomerang, the Utah Nonprofit Association, Nonprofit Hub, StratusLIVE, Blackbaud, DonorSearch, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, published the results of a survey of more than 1,000 nonprofits across North America. The report analyzes structural systems such as leadership development programs, attempts at creative recruitment of staff, and generational diversity in the workplace; and it highlights how nonprofits are losing opportunities in today’s turbulent nonprofit sector.

“Nonprofit leaders often are surprised by the conflicting pressures on their time,” says Marc A. Pitman, CEO of Concord Leadership Group. “They tell us they feel they’re ‘building the bridge as they walk across it.’ We wanted to test their assumptions and get a snapshot of the state of leadership in the sector.

“Surprisingly, the data shows many nonprofits really are flying by the seat of their pants,” Pitman says. “The data also indicates some ways to stabilize their organizations.”

Key findings include:

1)    49% of nonprofits are operating without a strategic plan — even one in five of the largest nonprofits.
2)    61% of nonprofit CEOs are not getting their performance reviewed by their board.
3)    Despite 10,000 Baby Boomers reaching retirement age every day, 77% of nonprofits do not have a succession plan.

“The study tells us what true leaders have already accepted: not planning strategically is just tempting fate. Without a plan, you are betting other people's future on your continued dumb luck,” says Bill Tedesco, CEO of DonorSearch. “Unfortunately, as this study shows, even large nonprofits are not doing this basic strategic planning. Nonprofits are currently putting themselves unnecessarily at risk.

“Nonprofit leaders need to share this study with their team and make this report part of their organization’s professional development,” Tedesco says.

"This study is the type of research our sector has been needing for decades,” says Jay Love, CEO of Bloomerang. “Insecure leadership is harming nonprofits; this study holds the keys to help leaders rebuild confidence — within their teams and with their communities."

The free report is available for download at

About The Concord Leadership Group:
The Concord Leadership Group LLC helps nonprofit leaders navigate the challenges of leading in the 21st century. We’ve helped CEOs increase employee satisfaction by double digits, nonprofits grow revenue by an average of 40%, and boards fully engage with their nonprofit in ways that streamline unproductive busy work while increasing organizational effectiveness.

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Christine Wuwert
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