May 14, 2009

Support Investment in Systems that Support Growth – Including Leadership

In this commentary on the 2009 Bridgespan Group report, Finding Leaders for America's Nonprofits, President Adam Myerson of The Philanthropy Roundtable points out an important implication of the report: One of the ways a funder can strengthen an organization is by enabling it to hire the key executives it needs.

By: Adam Myerson

A commentary on Finding Leaders for America's Nonprofits

The Philanthropy Roundtable and our members have greatly benefited from Bridgespan’s reports on the nonprofit leadership deficit. An important implication of these reports for funders is that one of the best ways a foundation or donor can strengthen a favorite grantee is to enable the grantee to hire the key executive leaders (e.g., chief operating officer (COO), chief financial officer (CFO), chief technology officer (CTO)) that will be necessary for the organization to grow. This is especially important in a recession year, when nonprofits have an excellent opportunity to invest in internal systems that will put them in a position to grow rapidly when the economy picks up again. Frequently this investment in systems will require hiring executive talent with operating and functional skills and experience.

Related Content

Download the report Finding Leaders for America's Nonprofits [PDF]

Read the executive summary

Download a collection of the commentaries [PDF]

One significant finding in the most recent Bridgespan report is that “the inability to offer the level of compensation necessary to attract the right person” is the single biggest obstacle to finding suitable nonprofit leaders. In their efforts to guard against abuse within the charitable sector, it is important that Congress, state legislatures, and the IRS not interfere with the ability of nonprofits to attract and retain executives who can deliver superior performance and growth.

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