Articles

Courtesy of The Bridgespan Group (Largest Global Non-Profit Consulting Firm).

Zeroing In On Impact

The consequences of this financial squeeze are increasingly evident throughout the nonprofit sector. From small neighborhood organizations to large multiservice agencies, nonprofit leaders and their boards are reordering priorities and reducing programs and staff. The premium on ensuring that the right choices are made is great, and the stakes are high – for the individuals these organizations serve, and for society overall.

Business Planning For Non-Profits

Mention business planning and people often think about written plans—the tangible products. The leap is natural, but it is also problematic. It short circuits the process of developing the plan, which is where many nonprofits find the greater value.

Right From The Start – What Your Non-Profit Board Needs

Just as important as developing a deep individual
relationship with each board member, it’s also important to understand what your team of individuals amounts to, and what qualities, skills, and connections it still needs to fulfill all your organization’s strategic goals—that is, to become a well ­rounded, fully functional super team capable of taking on any challenge. If constructed wisely, your board can work as your organization’s personal consulting team.

Boards That Match The Game

If you’re seriously considering joining a nonprofit board, says Phyllis Yale, it’s a good idea to make sure that your passions and unique abilities are a good match with the organization’s mission and needs. But since you can’t be absolutely certain of that in advance, she suggests a good test: Do some specific volunteer work at a project level—sorting out a business issue on geographic reach, for instance—and in the process really get to knowthe organization’s leadership, how its board operates, and whether its leadership is open to new ideas.

 

A Board’s Number One Priority: Talent Strategy

Decades of high-level nonprofit and corporate board work, including eBay, have taught The Bridgespan Group’s Chairman and Co-founder Tom Tierney many things. Heading the list is that the only thing more important than strategic clarity is having the talent to execute the strategy for lasting impact.

Rapid Decision Making

Without consulting any of the people who will actually have to do the work, an executive director promises an old friend that his organization will take on a complex project, leaving his staff feeling out of the loop and slightly disgruntled.

Twelve busy staff members spend multiple hours

Measurement As Learning

Measurement is a hot topic these days in the social sector, as increasing numbers of funders want to know exactly how their money is being used, and as nonprofits undertake rigorous evaluations to prove their programs work and attract funding for growth. But one of the most important uses of measurement is too often overlooked, and that is measurement for the purpose of learning and improving performance, or performance measurement.

Leadership Priorities

Decades of high-level nonprofit and corporate board work, including eBay, have taught The Bridgespan Group’s Chairman and Co-founder Tom Tierney many things. Heading the list is that the only thing more important than strategic clarity is having the talent to execute the strategy for lasting impact.

 

How To Research A Non-Profit Organisation Operations

Decades of high-level nonprofit and corporate board work, including eBay, have taught The Bridgespan Group’s Chairman and Co-founder Tom Tierney many things. Heading the list is that the only thing more important than strategic clarity is having the talent to execute the strategy for lasting impact.

 

Funding Models Guide

Having a great program wasn’t enough to achieve our mission, especially with all of the uncertainty in the economy. We weren’t being very strategic about raising funds, which was leading to a good deal

10 Non-Profit Funding Models

Every job and every career eventually ends in a transition. It’s just a matter of when, how, and how well managed

When CEOs move on—especially if they are founders, long-tenured executives, or transformational leaders—their organizations will need to devote appropriate time and

Increasing Non-profit Executive Team Effectiveness

Leading any enterprise is a challenge, especially for organizations growing in size and complexity. The job readily expands beyond the capacity of any single leader. That’s why CEOs of many nonprofits establish executive teams—groups of senior leaders who work together to chart the organization’s direction and keep it on track toward its goals.

Groom to Grow: Developing Next Generation Leadership Inside Your Non-Profit

In Bridgespan’s organizational surveys of nonprofits, succession planning rises to the top as both an acute need and persistent gap. That’s because too few nonprofits have a system for grooming the next generation of leadership to grow their organizations. They don’t have a deliberate game plan for each phase of transition from identifying future leadership prospects to developing them and ultimately promoting them to the C-Suite.

Leadership Priorities: What facets of Management should you delegate?

As a nonprofit leader, you know in your bones that there aren’t enough hours in the day to invest equally—and effectively—in all the issues vying for your attention. To make your job doable, you have to delegate some of your responsibilities as well as, whenever possible, the attendant decision-making authority. But which ones cannot be assigned to anyone but you? Bridgespan research points to two critical areas that uniquely require the top manager’s attention: aligning staff and other stakeholders around a common set of priorities and developing the organization’s leaders.

Monitoring & Improving Leadership Development Practices

Of all the tasks involved in setting up and operating a leadership development program, maintaining its “cruising speed” is among the most difficult. One reliable way to keep the momentum going is to continuously monitor your leadership development processes, just as you would any of your organization’s other critical functions, to learn which processes work and which could be improved. What you really want to learn is whether you have created lasting organizational energy for leadership development, so that it becomes integrated into every team member’s daily activities.

Performance Assessment : Setting the Stage for an Effective Process

Engaging employees in a thoughtful performance assessment process can help boost an organization’s employee engagement, motivation, and retention rates. It also can help align individual behavior more closely with the nonprofit’s mission, creating a better work environment and a stronger organization. For some nonprofits, it can even be a tool that helps them identify and develop future leaders.

The Non-Profit Leadership Development Deficit – Stanford Social Innovation

Succession planning is the No. 1 organizational concern of US nonprofits, but they are failing to develop their most promising pool of talent: homegrown leaders.

In more than a decade of research on nonprofit leadership, we at The Bridgespan Group have observed

Non-Profit Leadership Executive Summary

Surveys consistently show that nonprofit organizations are acutely aware of their leadership development gaps, but unsure about how to address them. The nonprofit leadership teams that Bridgespan has surveyed single out leadership development and succession planning as their most glaring organizational weakness by a margin of better

 

Three Key Roles Founders Can Play In A CEO Transition

Nonprofit leadership transitions, whether planned or unplanned, impact the organization’s staff, its board, and potentially how the organization will achieve its goals in the future.

With so much at stake, it’s important that funders work with their nonprofits to ensure a smooth transition—and help sustain the organization until a new leader is found.

 

New CEO Challenge The First Three Years

A lot of moving parts and demands compete for a new executive’s time: learning the people and culture of an organization, mastering the work and systems, managing strategic and organizational priorities. A significant number of executives struggle to sort it all out.

How The Y Supports And Develop Its CEOs

Strong CEOs attract strong board members and encourage strong governance With weak CEOs, the board weakens over time and governance challenges grow from there, says Neil Nicoll, the outgoing president and CEO of YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office for 2,700 YMCAs across the country.

When A Founder Moves On

Any leadership transition can be fraught with uncertainty and difficult decisions, but founder transitions can be particularly wrenching. Contributions by a founder over the lifetime of an organization can span organizational culture, funder and partner relationships, and vision for the future.

The Non-Profit Board’s Role In Onboarding And Supporting A New CEO

The number one responsibility of any board—for-profit or nonprofit—is management of the senior executive. Dozens of governance books drive this point home. Yet, when we talk with nonprofit leaders, it’s simply not their experience.

Nearly half (46 percent) of the 214 CEOs responding to a recent Bridgespan Group survey reported getting little or no

 

Interim Executive Management – “Seven Benefits To Consider”

A nonprofit organization that loses a top leader (e.g., chief staff officer, CEO, executive director, executive vice president) faces an anxiety-producing situation even under the best circumstances. But losing an executive without a succession plan in place can be particularly agonizing.

 

10 Things Departing Manager CEOs Should Do To Help Manage Their Exits

Every job and every career eventually ends in a transition. It’s just a matter of when, how, and how well managed.

When CEOs move on—especially if they are founders, long-tenured executives, or transformational leaders—their organizations will need to devote appropriate time and resources to managing the transition.

 

Bridgespan Non-profit Hiring Tool Kit

Hiring decisions are challenging, and engaging in a thorough process requires time and energy.

In addition, every hiring decision contains an element of risk and ultimately requires a leap of faith. No matter how well you know your final candidate, it’s impossible to be 100 percent certain how he or she will perform in the new role. However, executing a disciplined, rigorous