Why do we get involved with nonprofit organizations? To make our world a better place. Running a nonprofit organization however, operations may not always align with mission. So what if we all put mission first?
Along with colleagues at the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, we’ve been looking at concepts of mission sustainability - the capacity of one or more organizations to consistently deliver mission results over time and through unexpected circumstances. Adding this perspective might change how we, as a community, develop, retain, and seek nonprofit leaders.
To keep delivering mission results, we suggest:
- The work is bigger than one organization and its leaders
- Leaders need each other to succeed
- Strong, intentionally connected leadership helps creates a healthy vibrant nonprofit ecosystem
- On-going leadership continuity is important every day as well as making episodic transitions easier
- Leaders include board members, EDs, and staff managers.
In a system with this kind of thinking, we might build staff talent pipelines that welcome inter-agency career growth, and foster deliberate programs to value diversity, practice inclusion and achieve equity within leadership and staffing models across agencies.
In this kind of system, we might consider board recruitment in relation to other boards and their joint purpose with intentional strategies of placement after rolling off, cross memberships. This helps joint advocacy, maintains mission knowledge and passion, and strengthens collaboration.
Is this achievable? We don’t know. But giving it some consideration could help you approach nonprofit staffing challenges from a different perspective.