March “Leadership Matters” Focuses on Confronting the Nonprofit Leadership Deficit


Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/15/2006 --Given a projected need for as many as 640,000 new nonprofit leaders by 2016, the March issue of “Leadership Matters” offers insight into the issue along with three steps the sector must take to address the problem.

According to Tom Tierney, Chairman and Co-founder of the Bridgespan Group and author of “The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit,” the nonprofit sector faces the challenge of developing leadership, the result of huge growth in the number of nonprofit organizations and the substantial number of baby boomers expected to retire over the next decade. An additional problem is that very few nonprofits have the resources to develop leaders internally.

Published by Bridgestar, a nonprofit initiative of the Bridgespan Group dedicated to attracting, connecting and supporting senior leaders for the sector, “Leadership
Matters” is part of a robust portfolio of offerings to help both nonprofit organizations and senior leaders make meaningful, appropriate matches. Each month “Leadership Matters” picks a different theme designed as a conversation about how to build and sustain effective nonprofit organizations. The newsletter is available to Bridgestar members or, for a complimentary subscription, please email

In addition, Bridgestar’s job board has listed more than 400 senior positions from around the United States and across a range of service areas including the environment, human services, elder services, human rights, and youth services. The organization has assisted more than 50 organizations in finding new leaders through its talent-matching services, which include executive recruiting and related advisory activities.

Calling the leadership deficit the greatest challenge facing the sector over the next 10 years, Tierney urges the philanthropic community to invest for the future in supporting capacity-building efforts, spend time creating succession plans and developing younger leaders, and change prevailing practices.

According to Tierney, the sector must take three critical steps:
1. Invest in leadership capacity – even if it means directing a greater proportion of funding for “overhead.”
2. Refine management rewards to retain and attract top talent – by offering more competitive management packages (particularly as managers are held to higher performance standards).
3. Expand recruiting horizons and foster individual career mobility – reaching out to baby boomers who wish to continue working, mid-life career changers seeking greater social impact and the young. Ensuring career mobility for up-and-comers is essential if the sector is to retain its best performers.

The current issue of “Leadership Matters” is available at:

“Addressing the potential leadership deficit will require significant changes in attitudes and processes for the entire sector. By starting now, before we hit crisis levels, we can prepare for and make the necessary changes,” says David Simms, Managing Director, Bridgestar. “The nonprofit sector is playing an increasingly important role in social services, elder and youth care, K-12 education, the arts and the environment. Nonprofit executives and the philanthropic community must develop a long-term focus to ensure the sector that so many millions count on will survive.”

About Bridgestar
Bridgestar, an initiative of the Bridgespan Group, is a nonprofit organization providing talent-matching services, content, and tools designed to help organizations build strong leadership teams and individuals pursue career paths as nonprofit leaders. Bridgestar’s goal is to attract, connect, and support senior talent, leading to greater organizational effectiveness and social impact.