Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Today I had a conversation that really struck me and got me thinking about the nonprofit sector.

This morning I spoke briefly with someone who works in the same organization that I do who, upon congratulating me on my recent graduation was shocked to find out that I will be going back to school for a completely different career. He thought I was going to be, as he put it, a "nonprofit godess." He knew I had previously had the passion for our organization and that even as recent as the spring of 2011 I had career aspirations to advance within the organization and the long term goal of being an Executive Director.
None of this is what really got to me thought, it was what he said next that really got me thinking. "We broke you didn't we? That seems to be what we do to people."
Now call me foolish, but if the leaders of this organization are recognizing this problem, why is nothing being done to change it?
And it isn't just the organization I work for...
In a study referenced here http://nonprofit.about.com/od/nonprofitmanagement/a/leadershipgap.htm it is evident that the nonprofit sector is doing a great job at recruiting young would be leaders, however it is not so great at keeping them.
The article referenced above, and the findings and suggestions within it hit home with me 100%.
The leaders in the nonprofit sector need to open their eyes and realize what is happening before we truly do have a leadership crisis. I have experienced this burnout in my own life and am close with many others who have experienced or are experiencing something very similar.
As it states in the article many leave the nonprofit sector and find a way to put their passion to work elsewhere, making the change and impact they want to make without getting used and crushed along the way. While leaving my job may not have been my choice, mentally I was out the door long before it happened. I had been looking for other ways to put my passion to help others into practice for months.
I do feel that I have found it, but how many others are there like me whose spirit has been crushed and passion left by the way side because of unsupportive leaders and the drive for the dollar?
How many others will give up making a difference in order to make above minimum wage?
When will executives who make 6 figure salaries realize that their legacy will never continue if they don't invest in those in line to succeed them? all that money they are being paid could be put to much better use if invested into the community around them?
I could continue on and on with the questions, but I think you get the idea. A change needs to happen and it has to come from the top.

*I obviously understand that this does not apply to ALL nonprofit organizations.