Welcome to Mileposts (for Nonprofits)

Mileposts provide reference points along the road. They reassure us – the wheels aren’t just turning, they’re taking us to the destination we seek; the hours aren’t just disappearing, they’re being put to the right use — moving us forward.

Mileposts are useful. That’s our aim with this blog.

MAP recently served as a regional partner in a national study of nonprofit executive leadership called Daring to Lead 2011.  The findings identify new directions and will provide mileposts to mark our progress.

In this post, I want to share how Minnesota data compare to the national data featured in the Daring to Lead report.  The national study included 3,000 nonprofit executives, 225 of whom were from this region.

Fair warning: Our partners and the sponsors of the study, CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and the Meyer Foundation, report that there were no areas of statistically significant differences between regional and national data. (I still believe the data will be of interest to Minnesota nonprofit and foundation leaders.)

Daring to Lead clearly pertains to MAP’s ongoing work with nonprofit leaders, board and executives, but I believe it will also interest other Minnesota organizations, as well as funders and community leaders.

Daring to Lead Selected Findings

  • Nationally, 75 percent of nonprofit executives said they plan to leave their jobs within five years; our Minnesota exodus may be a bit less –at 63 percent. (Is it an understatement to suggest this may be a great time to be an emerging leader?)
  • Nationally, a mere 17 percent of leaders said their organizations have documented succession plans; locally we’re not much better, at 21 percent.  (This is a call to action in case you’re wondering what to do after the effects of the state government shutdown subside.)
  • Nationally, 45 percent of executives said they did not receive a performance evaluation last year; in Minnesota, 37 percent went without. (This isn’t a passing grade in case you’re wondering.)
  • At the national level, 33 percent of executives said they followed a leader who was fired or forced to resign; in Minnesota, 22 percent in after this unfortunate occurrence.  (This surprised me and made me wonder what the figure would be for for-profit executives.) If we improve the prevalence of succession planning, searching, hiring, onboarding and helping leaders to develop, and providing them with regular feedback (evaluations) — we would improve this percentage.
  • Nationally, 84 percent leaders say their organizations have been negatively affected by the recession; in Minnesota, it’s 82 percent. (Staggering, but probably comparable to what families and many businesses would report.)
  • Nationally, 32 percent of nonprofit boards are participating in policy advocacy; in Minnesota, it’s 35 percent.
  • And finally – of nonprofits where government contracts make up the majority of their annual budgets, nationally, 55 percent have less than three months of operating reserve; in Minnesota, it’s 56 percent. (This survey preceded our state budget shutdown in Minnesota; for those affected, the reserves are likely to have shrunk.)

Each of the Daring to Lead 2011 findings shared here, as well as others, could easily provoke a blog on its own accord.  Until next time…

Judy Alnes
Executive Director
MAP for Nonprofits

P.S. More Daring to Lead results here.

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Filed under Innovation, Leadership Development, Nonprofit Governance, Nonprofit Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Strategy

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