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  • Help Wanted: 640,000 Open Positions

    By The NonProfit Times - October 16, 2007

    By Don McNamara

    The future is here.That’s a good thing, isn’t it?

    It is not good if the future is the projected gap, possibly a chasm, between the number of senior-level managers at nonprofit organizations and the numbers of lower-level employees who would be in line to replace them.

    The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit management support organization in New York, Boston and San Francisco, has published a report, “The Nonprofit Sector’s Leadership Deficit,” that presents a gloomy forecast for nonprofit leadership down the road.

    The report projects that the number of new senior managers needed would increase from 56,000 to 78,000 between 2006 to 2016. Worse, it projects a cumulative total of 640,000 senior positions that will need to be filled.

    Thomas Tierney, founder of the Bridgespan Group and chief author of the report, said he saw the trend more than five years ago, when he worked at the for-profit consultant Bain and Company in Massachusetts. “It became clear in 2000-2001 that many of the organizations we were serving were finding it difficult to build their own organizations. And, most of our clients were trying to do more, serve 5,000 children instead of 1,000, for example,” Tierney said. “When they’re growing, they need more bench depth. Clients were having a hard time finding CFOs and CEOs, and they were having succession problems.”

    Money is an ongoing problem for nonprofits. Tierney said he understands that issue, but he didn’t see that as the chief problem. “The three ingredients are money, talent (that is, people) and a plan or strategy,” he said. “The biggest problem was talent.”…

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