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Most NFP Executives Plan to Leave Within Five Years: US Study


29 June 2011 at 12:39 pm
Staff Reporter
Two-thirds of US NFP Executives plan to leave their jobs within the next five years, citing frustration with their organisations’ shaky finances, under-performing boards of directors, and the difficulty of maintaining healthy work-life balance in their demanding roles, according to a US study.

Staff Reporter | 29 June 2011 at 12:39 pm


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Most NFP Executives Plan to Leave Within Five Years: US Study
29 June 2011 at 12:39 pm

Two-thirds of US NFP Executives plan to leave their jobs within the next five years, citing frustration with their organisations’ shaky finances, under-performing boards of directors, and the difficulty of maintaining healthy work-life balance in their demanding roles, according to a US study.

The study also found that almost half of respondents (45%) said their boards had not reviewed their performance within the past year, and only 18% said that their performance review was useful.

Daring to Lead 2011 is a national US study of Not for Profit executive directors, undertaken in the wake of the global financial crisis and the resulting deep economic recession in the US, by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and the Meyer Foundation.

More than 3,000 executive directors responded to an online survey that asked executives about their career paths, likely tenure, their partnership with the board of directors, and the impact of the recession on their organizations. To supplement the survey, 70 executives participated in focus groups in San Francisco and Washington.

The survey revealed the finances of many US Not for Profits are dire, with nearly half of respondents (46%) saying their organisations had operating reserves of less than three months of expenses, even though three months is the minimum level of reserves suggested by most experts.

Most respondents—84%—reported negative organisational impact from the recession, with one in five reporting significant negative impact.

Executive coaching was ranked highest by respondents as a very effective professional development strategy, but just 10% of respondents were working with a coach.

Daring to Lead 2011 is a follow-up to similar studies conducted in 2006 and 2001, in which three out of four executives said they planned to leave their jobs within five years. The number of respondents who said they were leaving in this study—67%—is somewhat lower than in the two previous studies, with executives’ responses suggesting that the recession may have temporarily slowed executive departures.

Nevertheless, a large majority of respondents continue to anticipate their departure within five years, making executive turnover and transition a significant ongoing concern for nonprofits, their boards, and other stakeholders.

The complete 20-page report can be downloaded at www.daringtolead.org



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