The Nonprofit Sector is going to be fine
I admit it, I am a pretty optimistic person. I love what I do and I love working and studying about the nonprofit sector. However, lately I've become saddened by all the reports, weekly articles and blog posts about the looming leadership deficit in the nonprofit sector.
Enough is enough, I have an opinion in this matter! We are going to survive, the nonprofit sector is going to be alright. We've seen hardships before, we tend to work through a lot of crisises and there are actually leaders in the pipeline.
- It is one thing for people to say they are leaving their positions in the next five years, it is another thing for them to follow through with their actions. Will these ED's really leave their organizations when they say they will? Also, rumor has it Baby Boomers will be retiring later in life. 60 is the new 40!
- I'm active with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network and the buzz right now is the national survey they (we) just conducted, stating that 45% of respondents are planning leave the nonprofit sector. Ok, so what! I go to YNPN networking events all the time and meet people who are coming into the sector. Let's survey the droves of people who are coming into the sector, many of them already successful leaders in the private sector. I bet there are more people coming into the sector than leaving the sector. Also, are these Young Nonprofit Professionals actually going to leave the sector--I am highly doubtful, we tend to love what we do!
- The nonprofit sector will evolve, organizations who cannot find another ED will dissolve and new possibly better organizations will spring up with Generation Xers at the helm. Also, training and capacity building programs and resources out there are continuing to evolve and become available to new nonprofit leaders. In my opinion, the new leaders today are better prepared to lead nonprofits than the leaders 30 years ago.
So, please let us all stop worrying about this leadership gap and lets think about the positive side of things!