6 Competencies Today’s Nonprofit Leaders Need for Success

The full potential of any nonprofit organization is reached through passion, persistence, and strong leadership. Leaders move the organization forward, setting goals and monitoring progress, and providing encouragement along the way. Leadership in nonprofit organizations has its challenges and requires unique skills and competencies for success. Extraordinary things can be accomplished in any nonprofit organization with effective leadership. So let’s take a close look at the role of a nonprofit leader, six key competencies needed for success, and how a competency management system can support the leadership competency evaluation process. 

What is the role of a nonprofit leader?

Leaders in a nonprofit organization must make clear goals, follow methodical processes, provide fair compensation and recognition, and clearly communicate and show respect to all involved in the organization. Leaders face an overwhelming amount of issues that require them to remain alert and open minded. Nonprofit organizations are constantly enhancing the quality of people’s lives. Leaders must evolve as change takes place within the organization. It is important that they possess certain soft skills and competencies in order to grow and change with the organization. 

What are 6 key competencies that nonprofit leaders should possess?

  1. Finance and Fundraising Management – Stakeholders in a nonprofit organization must feel confident that it is in good hands and that the finances are secure and under control. They must be able to ask tough questions of their fundraisers and financial officers. Leaders must be able to attract givers and their donations over a sustainable amount of time. They have to know the metrics related to fundraising and finance. Leaders who understand their numbers can keep their nonprofit financially healthy and easily explain their key stats to funders.
  2. Shared Vision and Communication  – Leaders must have a vision for the organization and be able to communicate it to all stakeholders. An effective vision requires courage and inspires others. They need to be able to articulate the vision and why it matters in a way that moves the hearts of members of the organization. A charming and charismatic leader must tell his or her story with passion, confidence, and clarity. When a leader can’t express the vision with passion, they will struggle to get the support needed for success. They must be able to bring out the best in a diverse group of people. 
  3. Effective Planning and Organizing – All contributors to a nonprofit expect to clearly understand how their funds or work is helping people. They also want to know how the organization will evolve in the community. Leaders are able to have a well thought out plan with short term and long term goals, that include how they will be achieved. A leader that is an effective planner keeps stability and security in an organization. There are few surprises and time is not lost to disorganization and chaos. 
  4. Outgoing and Engaged in the Community – Nonprofit leaders must understand the community in which they serve and familiarize themselves with local politicians and political leaders. This opens them up to more possibilities and is crucial in order to gain the trust of those inside and outside of the organization. They need to be ready and willing to network and advocate the mission to the community. 
  5. Able to Connect and Build Relationships – Leaders of nonprofits must find creative ways to build their revenue base by developing relationships with investors. In this dynamic world, leaders need to show confidence in their thinking and communications with others, even when they don’t have all the answers. They must have an entrepreneurial spirit, creating an overall positive and winning attitude throughout the organization. Leaders must be able to build trusting relationships with all stakeholders. 
  6. Self-starters – Nonprofit organizations need leaders who can take initiative, build efficient teams, and achieve goals. They have confidence and work without deliberation when needed. They are driven and ambitious. Self-starters consistently raise the expectations for themselves and their team. 

Inspirational leaders search for excellence in all that they do. This is the difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders in a nonprofit organization. They earn and demand people’s trust and they set high expectations for all. 

How can a leadership assessment help organizations capitalize on the effectiveness of its leaders?

Leadership is a measurable, learnable, and teachable set of behaviors. A nonprofit assessment can give you an objective sense of your abilities as a leader. When you start to learn more about your leadership competencies you will be able to capitalize on your strengths and become a more efficient and effective leader. It will define where you are and where you need to improve. 

Leadership skills are developed through experience and training. A competency management system can automate the process to allow for reporting of comprehensive scores and competency levels. This would allow for appropriate training to be assigned when an area of need arises. A competency management system, like Cabem’s Competency Manager, would store these trainings and be able to assign training according to the evaluation. 

Cabem’s Competency Manager is a configurable platform that allows you to model your organizational hierarchy to assign, prioritize, track, audit, and report activities by role, team, or organization. It is easily accessible and built to manage workflows and priorities. 

CABEM’s Competency Manager makes learning accessible to the entire workforce through its many options for implementing blended learning. With SCORM compatibility and a built in LMS, the Competency Manager provides a central framework for all your content, no matter the source. Centralized learning materials allow your organization to stay organized and provide consistency, two essential elements of increasing learner engagement. Easily import existing training programs, build your own tests and assessments, track attendance, administer guided learning. Create a learning ecosystem by integrating with your existing LMS or pull in content from third party content providers. With the Competency Manager there’s no single right way to offer learning options to your workforce! Visit our website to learn more.