What’s the greatest challenge our sector faces? This is the question I recently posed to my fellow nonprofit professionals on Twitter.
Very quickly, responses came. The tweets were interesting. Some were short, and some involved multiple tweets. Several themes emerged…
What’s the greatest challenge our sector faces?
First, a concern about financial sustainability:
- sushirevenge: Getting donations
- WomenEmployed: Convincing people their involvement/donation matters
- rememberHUEY: Sustainability
- ShellyBS429: Not being able to support the needs of people due to lack of funding from corporations, foundations, & governments.
Then, issues related to professional advancement:
- nathan_hand: Leadership gap
- desireeadaway: Succession planning
- cfctwo: Professional development in a rapidly changing communication word
And, a specific point about turnover:
- snotforprofit: Turnover
- brockwarner: Agreed
- dan_blakemore: You are so right about turnover. I have seen it cripple nonprofit organizations. Not to mention the lack of institutional memory that results from high staff turnover
- cheritatweets: I have to agree with turnover
Next, a thoughtful tweet about collaboration:
- adriannerussell: reluctance to merge/collaborate with nonprofits with similar or identical missions
Later, focusing on the essence of our sector:
- JanMichaelDC: Misunderstanding of what we are
- dan_blakemore: I’d say awareness/messaging. The nonprofit sector must make the public understand its vital role in civil society. Especially as the sector continues to grow and garners greater attention through things like the Giving Pledge.
Finally, the simplest response – but perhaps the most honest:
- rosettathurman: FEAR
- cheritatweets: Fear. Wanting to maintain the status quo, which isn’t exactly working
What do I think?
- Financial Sustainability: I tend not to see this as the crucial issue. What can I say? I’m a fundraiser. I’m confident.
- Professional Advancement: Yes, I would love to see our sector do better in mentoring and empowering leaders across generations.
- Turnover: Absolutely, turnover can negatively impact the effectiveness of our organizations. I believe turnover is connected with lots of other issues, like professional advancement, compensation, and workplace environment.
- Collaboration: Certainly this is a hot topic, especially in the aftermath of the recession. Like many grantmakers, I, too, would like to see greater collaboration. I don’t, however, classify this as the crucial issue.
- Essence of our Sector: Wow! I do think we have some serious hills to climb – in dealing with how we perceive ourselves and how others view our sector.
- The Most Honest: I think fear is the critical issue, especially in making progress in social change and uprooting the status quo. Besides, why do nonprofits exist anyhow?
What do you think? Please leave a comment with your answer! What’s the greatest challenge our sector faces?
Want to join the nonprofit conversation on Twitter? Follow me: jessica_journey.