Earlier in this blog I referred to an 'older paradigm' of nonprofit leadership. That observation is not intended to take anything away from the many nonprofit entrepreneurs who have dedicated their careers to a cause and a charitable organization at times when the sector was in its formative stages and truly a new frontier in mangement. Such passion and commitment has resulted in countless achievements in social welfare, environment, health, arts, and education, just to name a few.
However, with the dramatic growth of the nonprofit sector in the last few decades, the challenges, expectations and requirements have also grown, and changed. It is these new demands on nonprofit organizations and their leaders that require a higher level of strategic management. Measurable outcomes, financial sustainability and accountability and transparency are the new challenges today. The nonprofit CEOs of today need to simultaneously manage many challenges that result from:
The challenges facing the nonprofit sector are many but these nimble organizations are adapting to the new demands while continuing to demonstrate important gains in the variety of societal causes they work on. Professional nonprofit management education such as at Lawrence Technological University recognizes this "new paradigm" of nonprofit leaders and have crafted unique curriculum, drawing from proven business practices, to educate this new generation of leaders.
- Increasing demand on nonprofit services
- Decreasing government funding
- Growing competition for charitable contributions and grants
- Higher expectations from donors regarding the impact of their donations
- Increased oversight and regulation from federal and state governments
- Expanded media coverage
- New technological applications
- Unique volunteer habits of Gen X and Millennials.
In closing this blog, I leave you with a statement by Peter F. Drucker, longtime guru in corporate and nonprofit management. With this statement, Drucker lays down the gauntlet to the nonprofit sector in regards to its important role of developing the leaders of our society for the 21st Century.
"…. The more economy, money, and information become global, the more community will matter. Only the social sector nonprofit organization performs in the community, exploits its opportunities, mobilizes its local resources, and solves its problems. The leadership, competence, and management of the social sector nonprofit organization will determine the values, vision and performance of the 21st century society." 1