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Nonprofit Leadership For The Future
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Nonprofit Leadership For The Future

As a new generation of workers advance into the workplace the term workaholic fades into the background. Pouring yourself into your work is no longer the central theme for today’s youth. Company loyalty is a word that has been relegated to nostalgia for both employer and employee. Many of today’s younger workers expect to be paid more for just showing up. Likewise, there are expectations of having flexible work schedules which equates to having more vacation time and personal days off without a penalty. It also appears that this generation is easily bored and expects to be promoted quickly, often times in as short as a year.

This obviously does not bode well for the nonprofit arena. Several years ago The Chronicle of Philanthropy conducted a survey of over 1,600 young nonprofit workers with an average age of 28. When asked about their thoughts concerning a long term career in the nonprofit arena a full 70% said they could not see themselves serving as the executive director. Also 45% didn’t even see themselves in the nonprofit arena at all!

As the wave of “Baby Boomer” executive directors retire there is great concern among many that there will be a lack of those willing to take up the mantel. Currently most nonprofit organizations offer lower pay for jobs than in the for-profit arena. If you are an executive for a nonprofit you can expect constant pressure from your board to do more with less and the ever present need for fundraising. In many instances, as well, your staff will have little time or dollars spent on professional development and within the organization itself there will probably be only slight degrees of advancement possible which all depends on the size and scope of your program.

Despite all the woes our arena faces there appears to be a real yearning from many seasoned for-profit executives that are tired of fighting the corporate battles and look at the option of going toward the nonprofit light. People want to have more meaning in their life. Basically they don’t see their for-profit job filling that itch inside that tells them what they did today really made a difference in someone’s life. The real question, however, will be once a person looks below the surface will they like what they see going on within the nonprofit arena itself? Will there be a fresh perspective that will develop? Obviously time will tell and change is constant even in the nonprofit arena no mater how slow it might appear.

Regardless of the individual decisions people make the sector will be pressured into shrinking. Much like an animal in the wilderness only the fittest will survive! It is my strong belief that the IRS sees far too many nonprofits in existence today. Realize the IRS is all about making and collecting money not handing out tax free benefits. Get ready folks, while you might see a light at the end of the tunnel, what you don’t realize is that it is train heading our way.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.