Non-Profits Seek to Fill 24,000 Leadership Roles in Downturn

Despite tightening budgets, nonprofits are struggling to find the best executive talent.

According to a new survey by the Bridgespan Group:

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  • As of January, 28% of nonprofit organizations planned to make senior management hires, translating to 24,000 vacancies in 2009.
  • Top barriers to finding suitable leaders included compensation and difficulty finding executives with specialized skills, as well as competition for the same in-sector talent pool and lack of resources to find or cultivate new leaders.
  • Projected vacancies are largely the result of retirement, since much of the existing leadership is comprised of boomers.
  • Surprisingly, for a sector that is notorious for relying on personal relationships, job boards surpassed external networking for first place as a way to reach candidates, with 49% of organizations using job boards versus 44% using external networking to identify their candidates. And 38% used general print advertising, but it was found to be among the least effective tools. Only 13% of the organizations surveyed employed search firms, but found them highly effective.
  • 53% of U.S. nonprofits with revenue over $1 million have significant for-profit management experience represented on their senior management teams, including 20% in financial roles. Additionally, 42% of the executive directors surveyed had significant management experience in the private sector.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


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