Investing in Future Leaders

Helping nonprofit leadership teams invest in their greatest assets—their people

Program details
Who: Nonprofit leadership teams
Program Timing: August 2020 - December 2020
Deadline to Apply: July 15, 2020
Scholarships available
Grounded in Bridgespan’s experience working with hundreds of nonprofits, Investing in Future Leaders is a step-by-step program to help nonprofit executives create inclusive, customized approaches to talent development for their organizations.
Learn more in our explainer video
  • Team-Oriented Icon


    Built for nonprofit leadership teams

  • Self-Paced Icon


    Average program duration is 12 to 16 weeks

  • Customizable Icon


    Structured yet flexible to meet your needs

  • Interactive Icon


    Combines live team workshops with online lessons

  • Supported Icon


    Includes 1-on-1 Bridgespan coaching

What You'll Get

  • A set of leadership skills that articulate what great leadership looks like in your organization
  • Professional development plans for your staff that you can use immediately
  • New ways to understand and mitigate bias when assessing staff
  • An action plan to implement talent development across the organization

Who Should Participate

The program is especially powerful for organizations that:

  • Have completed a strategic planning process and want to make sure they have the talent to deliver on that strategy
  • Are preparing to experience growth or expansion 
  • Have leadership team members who are looking to build their skills around talent development
  • Want to ensure that their approach to talent development reflects their goals and values related to equity and inclusion

What Participants Say

Christa Gannon, founder and CEO of Fresh Lifelines for Youth, talks about her team's experience with Investing in Future Leaders
See more testimonials >>

How It Works

Curriculum Sections

  • Step 1: Reflecting on Future Leadership Needs

    • Online individual work: As individuals, you will reflect on your organization’s strengths and weaknesses related to talent development. You will also consider your organization’s strategic priorities and how talent will need to change over time.
    • Live team workshop: As a leadership team, you will reflect on your organization’s current approach to talent development and align on how leadership in your organization will need to evolve to achieve your strategic goals. Finally, you will discuss how to communicate about this program with others in your organization.
  • Step 2: Identifying Core and Leadership Competencies

    • Online individual work: You will learn about different core and leadership competencies (skills and mindsets), and nominate the competencies you think should be on your team’s starter list.
    • Live team workshop: As a team, you will select the core and leadership competencies that will be at the heart of your organization’s development process. As you do this, you’ll refer back to what you discovered in step 1 (i.e., what leadership will need to look like to help your organization achieve its strategic goals).
  • Step 3: Identifying Development Priorities for Direct Reports

    • Online individual work: You will learn how to use competencies to assess your direct reports, while actively mitigating against bias. Based on this assessment, you will identify two or three development priorities for your direct report(s).
    • Live team workshop:  As a team, you will compare development priorities to identify themes and patterns. You’ll also discuss how you assessed your direct reports to ensure everyone is using the competencies in the same way.
  • Step 4: Crafting Development Activities for Direct Reports

    • Online individual work: You will learn about the 70/20/10 development principle and review examples of development plans. As individuals, you will create development activities for your direct report(s).
    • Live team workshop: As a team, you will share development activities to identify themes and patterns and improve everyone’s draft plans. You’ll also identify potential areas for investing in the development of all of your staff.
  • Step 5: Co-creating Development Plans with Direct Reports

    • Online individual work: After learning best practices on development plan conversations, you will have an initial conversation with your direct reports to introduce them to this new approach to development planning. You will also discuss how you hope to continue these development conversations moving forward (e.g., frequency and cadence of conversations).
    • Live team workshop: During this last session, each leadership team member will provide debriefs of their initial conversations with their direct reports. This process will help your team surface potential challenges that might arise when rolling out the development approach to the broader organization. You will also create a plan for rolling out this process across your full organization over the next few months. Aligning on the cadence of critical activities (e.g., frequency of refining development plans with direct reports, or how often you will revisit organizational investments) will help ensure that the new talent development process is standard across the organization.
View Full Curriculum

Check out our frequently asked questions section to answer any additional questions


Investing in Future Leaders Coaches

Preeta Nayak is a partner in Bridgespan's San Francisco office, leads Bridgespan's programs for nonprofit leadership teams. Preeta has worked with hundreds of nonprofit executives to develop customized approaches to team and organizational growth. She coauthored the book, Nonprofit Leadership Development: What's Your "Plan A" for Growing Future Leaders?, to share best practices on talent and leadership development. Every day, Preeta is impressed by the ingenuity and commitment of the nonprofit leaders she supports, and she loves helping them create work environments where they and their successors can grow and thrive.

Coach - Preeta Nayak

Barbara Christiansen has worked with many nonprofits to strengthen their approach to talent and leadership development, primarily through Bridgespan's Leading for Impact Program in Atlanta and Washington, DC. Additional experience in nonprofit strategy and management has given her an understanding of the challenges facing many nonprofits as they seek to grow their impact while retaining and developing a strong team. Barbara has seen the positive changes that come when organizations commit to staff development and she is excited to continue this work with the Investing in Future Leaders cohorts!

Coach - Barbara ChristiansenImage

Important Information

Due to a generous funder subsidy, we can offer special pricing:

  • Price: $7,500
  • Limited time price: $5,500 for leadership teams of 3 to 6 members. For organizations outside of the United States, or for teams with more than 6 members, please email us.

Scholarships: A limited number of scholarships are also available to organizations led by people of color. Learn More>>

Schedule a call with us to see if the program’s right for you

Learn About Our Other Accelerator Programs

Selected Clients

North York Community House (Toronto)
Calgary Sexual Health Centre
Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Fresh Lifelines for Youth
Second Harvest (Toronto)
Hivos East Africa
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
Trees Atlanta
Center for the Visually Impaired
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Girls Inc. of Long Island
Girls Inc. of Shelbyville & Shelby County
Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell
Girls Incorporated of St. Louis
9 Dots
SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action)
Hope Builders
Breakthrough Trust
Southwest Youth and Family Services
Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County
Center for Family Life
World Impact
Kaivalya Education Foundation
Community Action Marin
Children's Institute, Inc.