Ready to Lead?

Next Generation Leaders Speak Out

Posted January 1, 2008
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
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Growing trends indicate an ominous “war for talent” within the nonprofit sector. As the Baby Boomers retire from their leadership positions over the coming decades, the small pool of next-generation leaders say they are both concerned and ill-prepared.

The demand for leaders in the nonprofit sector is growing, but the supply is inadequate. Most executives are pulled from the outside of an agency, and an alarmingly low number of positions are filled with employees from within an agency. This is indicative of a lack of mentorship and reinforces the concept of undervaluing employees of a charitable organization.

This deficiency coupled with the long hours and low pay are making the would-be executives think twice about waiting around – driving many of them to the government and business sectors.

Not only is this an issues for nonprofits to worry about, but it’s indicative of the problems within the sector as a whole, and offers interesting opportunities for change.

Findings & Stats

Key Takeaway

Three out of four executive directors plan to leave their jobs within the next five years.

Many next-generation leaders have reservations around filling leadership roles in the nonprofit sector. Financial concerns top the list – specifically is the worry of not being able to retire properly – fewer than half of all nonprofit organizations make some kind of contribution to staff retirement accounts. Also of concern is the ability to be able to provide for and support families. 69% of these would-be leaders feel they are underpaid for the work they currently do, and feel as though they are chronically over-extended in their roles.