Most Nonprofits Operate Without a Plan, Survey Finds

Even as they face growing competition and a "seismic" demographic shift, many nonprofits continue to operate as usual, failing to prepare for inevitable economic downturns, neglecting to cultivate meaningful relationships with supporters, and not bothering to share information on their effectiveness and impact, a report from the Concord Leadership Group finds.

Based on a poll of more than a thousand nonprofit leaders, board and staff members, and volunteers, most of whom (71 percent) have worked in the sector for at least seven years, the Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report, 2016 (32 pages, PDF) found that nearly half of the nonprofit leaders surveyed are operating without a strategic plan, 61 percent of nonprofit CEOs do not have their performance evaluated at least annually, and 42 percent of nonprofits do not have a formal performance evaluation process. Moreover, while more than a third of the nonprofit leaders surveyed say their staff turnover rate is high, over three-quarters of the leaders surveyed said do not have a succession plan or leadership development program in place.

"In the end, meeting most nonprofit challenges centers on effective leadership," said Concord Leadership Group CEO Marc A. Pitman. "Our hope is that [this study] will help nonprofits everywhere. We don’t have to ‘settle for’ dysfunctional leadership in nonprofits. Together, we can lead our communities and our world into a brighter future."

"Data in New Study Pinpoints Major Problems for Nonprofit Leaders." Concord Leadership Group Blog Post 03/15/2016.