Building the Bench at Indian NGOs: Investing to Fill the Leadership Development Gap

Building the Bench at Indian NGOs: Investing to Fill the Leadership Development Gap

Although a vast majority of NGOs in India believe leadership development to be essential, little in the way of time and resources is being invested in such efforts, a report from the Bridgespan Group finds. Based on a survey of two hundred and fifty leaders from Indian NGOs and Indian offices of international NGOs, as well as interviews with funders and practitioners, the report, Building the Bench at Indian NGOs: Investing to Fill the Leadership Development Gap (83 pages, PDF), found that while 97 percent of NGO leaders said leadership development is vital to their organization’s success, more than half had received no funding for such activities in the past two years. As a result, Indian NGOs tend to be overly dependent on individual leaders (often their founders); frequently lack a second layer of leadership; and have limited organizational capacity for change management and strategic thinking. Funded by Omidyar Network, the report calls on NGOs in the country to do a better job of building supportive cultures, providing staff with development opportunities, setting goals and monitoring progress toward them, and mapping future leadership development needs, and on funders to invest in NGOs' capacity to develop leaders internally, leverage grant processes to incentivize leadership development, connect NGOs to experts, and help build the ecosystem by investing in leadership programs, developing customized resources, and building the case for more robust leadership development.