Nonprofit Leadership – The Keys to Success

One of the most diverse and rewarding career options for Master of Public Administration degree holders is nonprofit leadership. This role requires a commitment to growing and expanding an organization with the purpose of furthering a social mission, while also demanding a focus on organizational efficiency.  This multifaceted role often requires some or all of the following skills from those who pursue it:

  • Financial acumen
  • Flexibility and responsiveness
  • Coalition building
  • Political knowledge
  • Strategic thinking
  • Conflict management
  • Initiative
  • Listening
  • Self-awareness
  • Networking

With these skills mastered and employed regularly, nonprofit leaders can be well on their way to success.

Success Factors in Nonprofit Leadership

Beyond mastering the skills mentioned above, nonprofit leaders must also be experts in resource development, board relations, marketing and strategic communications, and human resource management. The role requires the ability to see everything in broad strokes, while also being able to initiate change through detail-oriented leadership.

Though the role of the modern nonprofit leader can seem demanding, it can also be incredibly rewarding. This is especially evident when you read the stories of those nonprofit leaders whose success is paving the way for the next generation.

Noteworthy Nonprofit Leaders

Some noteworthy nonprofit leaders that students can learn from include:

  • Aziza Hasan – Co-leader and Executive Director of NewGround
  • Geoffrey Canada – Author, activist and President of the Harlem Children’s Zone
  • Christine Owens – Executive Director at the National Employment Law Project
  • Bill and Melinda Gates – Founders of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Learn more about these successful leaders and how to work toward nonprofit career success after graduating from USC Sol Price School of Public Policy in the infographic below:

An infographic about nonprofit leadership by USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.

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