Great Ideas for Investing in Nonprofit Talent and Leadership Development
There are three primary reasons for investing in nonprofit talent and leadership development. Foundations who support these activities are helping to:
- Create stronger individual leaders to guide and staff the nonprofit partners upon whom they depend.
- Establish a culture of professional excellence and leadership development within the organizations they fund.
- Ensure that thoughtful, intentional talent and leadership development becomes the norm for the entire nonprofit sector.
This tool kit contains a framing paper, case studies, videos, and other resources to help funders of all sizes and types explore ways to successfully invest in nonprofit talent and leadership development.
How and Where to Invest
The Generating Change Nonprofit Talent and Leadership Development Pipeline includes well-defined talent and leadership development opportunities for individuals at every stage in their careers—from young recruits to seasoned veterans.
Funders have already found ways to invest at every component of this pipeline, at various funding levels.
- Recruitment involves the range of activities needed to build awareness of work opportunities in the sector, then cultivate and enlist new talent into the nonprofit workforce. Read a case study: Internships That Strengthen the Sector.
- Retention refers to efforts to retain emerging and established professionals and volunteers in organizations, movements and within the sector more broadly. Read a case study: Keeping Top Talent on Track.
- Development describes ongoing organizational and sector-wide strategies to nurture the skills, knowledge, competencies and agency of nonprofit talent. Read a case study: Developing Leaders for a National Movement.
- Realignment pertains to the restructuring of nonprofit organizations to adopt new work practices and leadership models. Read two case studies: Helping Leaders Reinvent and Restructure and Creating a Talent Culture in a Time of Growth.
- Renewal refers toefforts to reinvigorate nonprofit leaders in order to avoid burnout and ensure the long-term viability of meaningful careers and contributions to the field. Read a case study: Renewing Leaders for Long-Term Service.
- Succession and Transition describe efforts to create viable and supportive pathways for executives and board members as they phase out of full-time work, and for nonprofits to identify new leaders and prepare internally for those new leaders to take the helm. Read a case study: Crisis Averted: Supporting Leadership Transitions.
- Reengagement considers efforts to reengage midlife or retirement-age nonprofit leaders, either into “encore” careers or into critical part-time or volunteer roles to support nonprofit organizations and the sector more broadly. Read a case study: Reengaging Proven Leaders as Interim Directors.