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New Initiative for Nonprofit Talent and Leadership

December 5, 2011

During the recent White House Forum on Nonprofit Leadership (see my post of November 21), five themes emerged that require follow-up and future action. They are:

  • Advancing Diversity and Inclusion
  • Cross-sector Talent Pipelines
  • Equipping Leaders to Face Tough Challenges
  • Scaling Social Innovation
  • Catalyzing Private and Public Investments in Leadership

In each case, working groups are being built around strategies for moving the agenda forward in each of these areas. These groups are being formed under a new Initiative for Nonprofit Talent and Leadership. The goals for these teams are:

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion

  • Achieve representation of staff and board leadership that will reflect the diversity of constituencies and communities we serve
  • Identify, develop and recognize emerging leaders from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds in a systemic way
  • Create and promote a sector that institutionalizes and embodies inclusive leadership

Cross-sector Talent Pipelines

  • Invest in talent from a sector-wide perspective rather than an organizational perspective
  • Develop specific “onramps” from service to college to career
  • Develop more opportunities for cross-sector leadership development
  • Establish line item/percentage in every foundation grant and nonprofit budget specific to talent and leadership development

Equipping Leaders to Face Tough Challenges

  • Create a sustainable culture of leadership
  • In five years, collaborative leadership will be a norm in the sector
  • Professionalize the nonprofit workforce through a certificate program with a consistent curriculum and performance measurement system
  • Make the nonprofit sector the destination career for the best and brightest

Scaling Social Innovation

  • Build a coalition of funders and nonprofits that strengthen the connection between social impact and investing in human capital
  • Bring together the most influential funders from all sectors and to increase investments in human capital
  • Demonstrate the connection between investing in human capital and increasing social impact
  • In ten years, 50% of the best places to work in the U.S. will be nonprofits

Catalyzing Private and Public Investments in Leadership

  • Establish and promote framework of excellence in nonprofit leadership development programs
  • Leverage $100 million from all three sectors over five years for diverse leadership development programs
  • Increase and build capacity and resiliency of the sector by building sustainable organizations as measured by statistics

A follow-up meeting to the White House Forum is scheduled to take place in Washington, DC on May 15, 2012. Progress reports on each of these goals will be shared with the larger group at that time, and action plans will be further developed for the next five years.

If you would like additional information on the Initiative for Nonprofit Talent and Leadership or if you would like to join one of these working groups, visit

If you would like to post a comment or question about the Initiative and join the conversation on CSR Now!, click here.


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