Sustainability, or the ability to maintain organizational health and impact over time, requires both a strong infrastructure and an investment in leadership development that includes an intentional effort to build a multi-cultural, multi-generational staff. “Nonprofits that are serious about their own sustainability will also be serious about planning for smooth and thoughtful transitions of leadership — as well as making sure their nonprofit is prepared for unexpected departures” (National Council of Nonprofits). Succession planning, or planning for the transition of an executive director, is a necessary risk management strategy that reflects a commitment to serving the community for the long term. It’s important for organizations to engage in the development of thoughtful succession plans even when such leadership changes are not expected, and to embrace such plans as an opportunity for transformative change.
The nonprofit sector has a racial leadership gap. Studies have tracked the small percentage of people of color in Executive Director/CEO roles for years. Efforts to support and train and inspire and mold aspiring leaders of color are important…but they’re not enough to move the dial toward more diverse leadership. The Race to Lead series from the Building Movement Project examines national survey findings on widespread systemic barriers to leadership positions for people of color in the nonprofit sector, with the following breakout reports:
- National Findings
- State-Specific Findings: California and Massachusetts
- LGBTQ Nonprofit Staff and the Racial Leadership Gap
- Women of Color in the Nonprofit Sector
- Race to Lead Brief: CEO
The Race to Lead report series offers strategies for dismantling these barriers and supporting the leadership of people of color in the nonprofit sector.