Equipping nonprofits to advance social change

Leadership

Here you’ll find recommendations for how to ease the transition from older to younger generations and how we can work together to define the future of nonprofit leadership. We report on key issues facing Generation X and Boomer leaders, as well as how to deepen our approaches to addressing those issues.

So Long for Now

After nine years with the Building Movement Project, I will be leaving at the end of this month.  We’ve spent the last six months preparing for this as a staff and team and I couldn’t be more excited, although also sad to leave a place...more

Co-Directorship - What Does it Mean?

It wasn’t by chance that Sean and I became co-directors, but it was good luck. It didn’t take long to see how two heads are better than one (thanks Joni Mitchell) and that having a partner in the work upped our game.  But it...more

New Resources: Tools for Leadership

For the past several years, we have been researching and writing reports about how to work across generations and build leadership for social change in your organization and in the nonprofit sector.  Once we release each report, we spend months developing exercises and tools for people to use to...more

Independent Sector’s NGen Program

This past year, I’ve been a part of the advisory committee for Independent Sector’s NGen pre-conference.  I’ve also been an attendee for the past 5 years.  More and more I’ve seen associations such as Independent Sector try to increase programming for...more

Is it a Crisis?

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has featured our new report publication The Leadership in Leaving in their article "Calling it Quits" (pdf). For years we heard that the leadership transitions in the nonprofit sector – the one from aging boomers to the next generations – would result in a mass...more

The Nonprofit Leadership Crisis We’ve All Been Waiting For

Earlier this week, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported on an interesting phenomenon in Charlotte, North Carolina. It appears that nonprofit executives there are finally proving right the 2006 theory that a mass exodus of long-term nonprofit leaders was on the horizon, as 35 of the city’s nonprofits have changed leaders in the last year. The sector has been talking about this Bridgespan study for years - worrying whether a leadership crisis would really come to pass, and if up to one million leaders would actually transition out of their positions in the next ten years. To date (the recent phenomenon in North Carolina notwithstanding) the sector has found that this mass exodus hasn’t really happened.  Long-term nonprofit leaders, especially those from the Baby Boom generation who are entering retirement age, simply aren’t leaving in the same numbers that early analysts had predicted.  The questions that still need to be answered are why aren’t they leaving, and what do they plan to do next?

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20th Anniversary

This weekend I will be in Baltimore to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellowship . In 1997, I left my job as the executive director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute and arrived in Baltimore at the Casey Foundation. It was total culture shock. I went from working with LGBT youth at a time when homophobia and HIV/AIDS were rampant to being a Fellow at a major national foundation that was showering us with training, travel, and new opportunities. During my tenure at Hetrick-Martin, we had buried the Institute’s co-founder Damien Martin and lost youth to disease, poverty, and neglect. But we also had many wins and the fact that the Annie E. Casey Foundation  (AECF) recognized someone working on behalf of LGBT youth was a boost to our field which in those days was barely recognized.

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The Leadership in Leaving

Building Movement Project, in partnership with Encore.org and Clohesy Consulting, recently completed a study on long-term nonprofit leaders over 50 and how they are thinking about their futures.  Here, Frances Kunreuther illustrates the potential impact of this transitional moment for the sector - as 10,000 people turn 65 every day and leaders in the Baby Boom cohort begin to think about transitioning out of their current leadership roles. 

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Vision for Change Webinar Recap

Last week, Caroline McAndrews and Helen Kim hosted a webinar that reviewed the findings of our Vision for Change report, which was based on in-depth interviews with social justice leaders under 40.  Here, Caroline recaps the event, including insights shared by Carlos Saavedra, a guest on the webinar and one of the participants in the study.

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Leaving Long-term Leadership

Building Movement Project recently teamed up with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Fellows Network and Tim Wolfred an expert on executive transitions (who consults for his former employer CompassPoint in his new stage of work) to conduct focus groups with older leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. The results can be found in Reports from the Field: The Next Stage: Leaving Long-term Leadership which offers some important insights that confirm our other findings. The Report highlights both the personal stories and structural barriers facing those who have recently left their leadership positions and those still in leadership who are thinking about their next move. It offers some of the challenges in leaving and points out how we need to move from seeing these experiences as individual problems to one that is collectively shared. Here, Frances Kunreuther reflects on what the implications of these findings are, both for long-term leaders contemplating their own transitions out of executive roles, and for the sector as a whole.

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