Dr. Rob Pasick’s Leaders Connect Breakfast on September 15, 2017, focused on leadership in the nonprofit sector.  To see the video, click on linkhttps://youtu.be/4CsbVcuFAxg. During this session Neel Hajra, President & CEO of the Ann Arbor Community Foundation, Stephanie Freeth, Nonprofit Strategist and Founder of Adaptive Alternatives LLC, and Dr. Rob Pasick invited the audience to participate in a dialogue that covered the following aspects of leadership in nonprofits:

  • Understanding today’s nonprofit landscape in Washtenaw County

  • How leadership in the nonprofit sector drives social change

  • Key determinants of success in nonprofit leadership

  • How to determine where to put your own volunteer energies to work for social change where you live and work

During the robust conversation, we had the chance to hear from a number of nonprofit staff leaders and board members about the biggest leadership challenges and opportunities they face. This was an environment where nonprofit leaders and volunteers were encouraged to connect and ask for peer-to-peer support from one another.

Below are the top 10 leadership challenges that nonprofit leaders currently face in Washtenaw County (with some broader SE Michigan representation included). These areas surfaced during the group discussion as well as after the event. While there were general trends around needing more moneymore time, and even stronger relationships, the specifics that supported those trends had to do with needing additional support for communicationculture, and planning.

Here are the top 10 items that nonprofit leaders cited as their biggest leadership challenges (and opportunities in some cases):

  1. Needing more money for mission (in the form of funding, revenue, grants, contributions, etc.)

  2. Fostering better external communication to “Get the story out” and answer the “So what?” about why support the organization’s mission (and investments in infrastructure/overhead)

  3. Focusing on stronger internal communication (with both staff on the ground and with board members)

  4. Making the time to prioritize relationship building internally and externally

  5. Desiring more leadership training and policies to provide both inspiration and help with execution, including how to use alliances and training cohorts efficiently

  6. Navigating organizational life cycle and leadership transitions, including succession, turnover, and continuity at the staff and board levels

  7. Creating time to do longer term visioning work vs. handling day-to-day operational demands

  8. Finding high-quality volunteers for board seats and other vital skills

  9. Carving out time to cultivate a healthy organizational culture intentionally

  10. Forming better partnerships that can extend reach and create efficiencies

For those who would like to continue the conversation beyond this event, Stephanie Freeth and Rob Pasick offered to gather information and work with others to create additional peer-to-peer networking and skill building opportunities for nonprofit leaders. Anyone interested in more follow-up can fill out this sheet in Google drive with basic content information and topic areas of expertise and interest. For additional follow-up, Stephanie’s email is stephanie@adaptivealt.com.

Rob’s new book, JOURNAL for Self-Aware: A Guide for Success
in Work and Life
live in the Amazon Store. It is available for
readers to purchase here

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