Here’s some daunting news from a new survey of more than 3000 nonprofit leaders, staff, board members and donors: Almost 80% of nonprofits struggle with leadership and management issues. Even worse, only 11% are prepared for growth and optimal impact.
William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker conducted the study, “The Stanford Survey on Leadership and Management in the Nonprofit Sector,” to serve as the basis of their new book Engine of Impact: Essentials of Strategic Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector, which will be released this month. The survey was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR), GuideStar, and BoardSource.
Meehan and Jonker’s research on successful organizations suggest that there are seven essential components of strategic leadership that are needed for maximum impact:
· Mission – a focused, defined statement of purpose;
· Strategy – a strategic framework based on mission;
· Impact Evaluation – a way to measure impact;
· Insight and Courage – a commitment to considered and fearless decisionmaking;
· Organization and Talent – the right people to move the organization forward;
· Funding – the ability to build diverse and sustainable revenue relationships with the right donors; and,
· Board Governance – a strong and effective board to provide direction.
Organizations that aspire to be high-impact need to develop strength in all seven of these areas, Meehan and Jonker said, and a deficiency in any one area can prevent an organization from achieving its goals.
According to the survey, the most common challenges for organizations are:
- Over 50% struggle with fundraising and another 50% struggle with impact evaluation;
- More than half struggle with weak board governance;
- 27% demonstrate “weakness in strategic management,” such as, organization and talent, funding, or board governance, despite exhibiting strength in other areas
Further complications come from leadership and staff indicating that they don’t think their organization sets clear expectations for performance, rewards high performance appropriately, or provides consistent feedback on performance.
To read the complete study results, visit http://www.engineofimpact.org/survey