Daring to Lead 2011: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership
CompassPoint Nonprofit Services and the Meyer Foundation
More than 3,000 executive directors participated in Daring to Lead 2011, the third Daring to Lead national study produced in partnership by CompassPoint and the Meyer Foundation, with previous studies published in 2001 and 2006.
Daring to Lead 2011 has multiple components:
- This main report
- Three topical briefs: Leading Through a Recession, Inside the Executive Director Job, and The Board Paradox
- The interactive Daring to Lead website, where you will find report downloads, additional data and findings, downloadable charts and graphs, community comments, research methodology, and information about the project team and regional partners.
Please visit daringtolead.org frequently to hear what sector leaders are saying about the findings and to engage in the ongoing dialogue about their implications for nonprofit executives and boards, philanthropy, and capacity builders.
The third Daring to Lead report in 10 years comes at an extraordinary time to be the executive director of a nonprofit organization. Since the last report in 2006, powerful forces have influenced the requirements of—and the possibilities for—embodying the role well. On the challenging side, executives are daring to lead through a deep recession that resulted for many in fewer resources, and for all in profound shifts in when and on what terms individuals and institutions invest in their organizations. Moreover, executives leading the effort to respond to the economically disadvantaged are facing a relentless demand for services far beyond their capacity to respond. On the positive side, the comparatively progressive policies of the Obama administration and nonprofit-led progress on various social movements mean that executives leading critical social change efforts are experiencing greater opportunity and organizational growth. And with respect to the practice of leadership itself, five years later 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.