The Top 10 Leadership Issues

on-profit leaders play a key role in determining whether an organization succeeds or not. In addition to traditional leadership roles like creating the mission/vision, strategic planning, developing and motivating the team, evaluating the programs, and strengthening the board/staff non-profit leaders are also responsible for steering the organization on a course for success.

This week, let’s take a look at some of the key ways a leader can drive a non-profit to the top.

  1. Raising dollars and expanding the percentage of controllable income. There is a difference between controllable and uncontrollable income. Most uncontrollable revenue will come from grants. Controllable dollars, on the other hand, generally come from individuals, membership fees, fees for services, contracts, and earned income. It is important to have at least 60 percent of your long-term revenue coming from a diversified and controllable funding stream.
  2. Positioning the organization is critical for its success. Your organization needs to be “positioned” well so it attracts key constituency groups (corporations, faith-based institutions, government entities, private foundations, key donors, and the media) that you will need support from. To view some Powerpoint presentations on positioning please email¬† .
  3. Organizing and motivating your board of directors. It is not enough to just have a board that meets monthly. The members need to be active and engaged while providing real value that moves the mission along.
  4. Forging alliances and partnerships. Developing strategic partnerships with key community institutions and people is critical to expanding your outreach, power, and effectiveness.
  5. Hiring, motivating, and leading your staff in an ethical manner are key elements in being a role model for your team. Take the time to develop the values and ethics of the organization. Model these precious values every day.
  6. Organize the board leadership so they can lead. This is critical if you want the board to assume ownership and investment in the organization. The role of the CEO/executive director is to manage the board so the board can lead.
  7. Assure your programs and services are top quality.This is central to knowing if you are effective or not. Budget some dollars to evaluate your programs – not just on the number of people served but on the outcomes and impact of your work.
  8. Solidify and expand your constituencies, relationships with donors, clients, members, media and others by actively listening to what they want and need and communicating that you want to develop a partnership with them.
  9. Understand the competitive, environmental, and political context of your organization and at least once per year conduct a scan to see if these external factors have changed. Stay ahead of this curve rather than just reacting to events.
  10. Conducting a SWOT every year will allow you to strategically look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats so you can be more tactical in your decision making.

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