Daring to Lead 2011: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership

Our third Daring to Lead report in 10 years comes at an extraordinary time to be the executive director of a nonprofit organization. Since our last report in 2006, powerful forces have influenced the requirements of—and the possibilities for—embodying the role well. Executives are daring to lead through a deep recession that resulted for many in fewer resources and increased demand for services, yet executives leading critical social change efforts are experiencing greater opportunity and organizational growth. And we know more about how the sector is experiencing the generational handoff, about what works in developing future leaders, and about which executive and governance practices are most associated with sustainable organizations. This report is organized around three key findings and concludes with corresponding calls to action.

Download the Report

Download the three briefs:

  • Leading Through a Recession, which reports on how the recession has amplified pre-existing economic challenges for nonprofits, including inadequate government funding and insufficient cash reserves.
  • Inside the Executive Director Job, which explores how executives spend their time, how they work with staff, how they feel about the core aspects of their role, and the strategies they find most effective for personal development and support.
  • The Board Paradox, which reports that most executives are not spending a significant percentage of their time working with and supporting their boards--even though executive directors who spend more time on their boards report higher satisfaction with board performance.

    Visit the report web site


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