Leadership New England

Publication date: 
June, 2015
Third Sector New England

Leadership New England, a new study of nonprofit executives and board members in the region, reports that two-thirds (64%) of executives plan to leave their jobs within the next five years, 60% of organizations do not have succession plans, and just one-third of leaders believe they have staff in their organization who can step up into leadership positions.

The study, conducted by Boston-based Third Sector New England, a nonprofit, capacity-building organization specializing in leadership and management support for nonprofits, surveyed more than 1,200 executive directors and board members to investigate their current challenges and document what is needed to keep New England nonprofits healthy and sustainable in the coming decade. In response, 877 leaders (primarily executive directors) and 330 board members completed the survey. Third Sector New England partnered with more than 40 organizations—including foundations and others— who distributed the survey to leaders and board members in the six New England states.

“Many of the leaders and board members we surveyed reported their organizations are not ready for the anticipated challenges associated with such a large exodus of seasoned leaders — as baby boomers leave organizations they’ve been with for a long period or founded — and the next generation steps up,” says Hez Norton, co-author of the report for Third Sector New England. “Many organizations have no succession plans, resources to develop leaders within organizations, are financially frail, and are faced with struggling boards. These challenges will likely intensify during any type of leadership transition.”

Amoung the funders of the study are CCP members: The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Connecticut Community Foundation, The Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut, and Connecticut Health Foundation.