Giving Compass' Take:
- Research indicates that more organizations are investing in talent management and talent support for nonprofit leadership.
- How will these changes help strengthen nonprofit growth? How can you help nonprofits to implement these changes?
- Learn about working on nonprofit trajectories during a crisis.
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The nonprofit sector employs 12.5 million people in the United States (Salamon & Newhouse, 2020) and its people power is its most finite and important resource.
Since its founding in 2014, Fund the People has made the argument that “nonprofit people are nonprofit programs,” and that support for the nonprofit workforce is an “effective strategy for increasing performance, impact, and sustainability” (2017, para. 1).
Yet, the social sector has traditionally underinvested in that talent. Though direct figures for how much each nonprofit spends on professional development are not readily available, foundations invest approximately $29 per person via grants for leadership development compared to their for-profit counterparts’ rate of $120 per person (Callanan, 2014).
“[F]oundations invest approximately $29 per person via grants for leadership development compared to their for-profit counterparts’ rate of $120 per person.”
However, change appears to be on the horizon. Due to the combined pressures of several internal and external drivers, and accelerated by the pandemic, the sector is reflecting on its current models of talent management and deepening its focus on talent support. New efforts to experiment with and invest in talent are cropping up nationwide. While they remain generally small in scale, these efforts are gaining attention and proponents.
In their 2020 report, Awake to Woke to Work, Equity in the Center found that while just 10% of nonprofit CEOs/executive directors are from the Black, Indigenous, and people of color community, there is more diversity at the beginning of the talent pipeline.
ProFellow’s 2020 Fellowship Industry Report found both that 1) more fellowship programs are focusing on early- and mid-career professionals, and 2) that the growth of professionally-focused fellowship programs in the last 20 years is rooted in the sector’s efforts to support a more inclusive workforce (Yadav & Johnson, 2020). Ninety-three percent of their survey respondents noted actively working toward recruiting diverse fellows as a key priority.
While the impact of these programs remains challenging to quantify, the report shares many case studies from fellowship programs that are already changing the game.
Read the full article about foundation innovations by Mandy Sharp Eizinger, Kevin Peterson, and Tory Martin at Johnson Center.