The Challenge of Non-Profit Leadership

An Inteview with Richard Baggett

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Many skills are demanded of non-profit leaders which are may not be of comparable importance for leaders in the for-profit sector. In the for-profit world, leaders can draw on their positional authority to compel compliance with their directives.

Because they are reliant on volunteers, however, leaders in non-profit organizations have no way to compel compliance. They can gain it only by their ability to engage people, motivate them, and inspire them.

To do so, non-profit leaders must be able to articulate their vision and purpose clearly and distinctively. Fund-raising depends on the same kind of clarity. While the ability to promote vision and engage workers is important to for-profit leadership, it's absolutely essential for non-profit leaders.

In this episode, I interview a long-time friend and professional colleague Richard Baggett. He shares perspectives which he has gained from four decades of successful non-profit leadership. We discuss topics ranging from clarifying vision to marketing to fund-raising to working with volunteers to board relations.

In a break with the past, Richard points out, corporations now promote social causes which were once the sole province of churches and non-profits. Corporate dollars thus urge the public to support specific good causes.

To build appeal for their own cause, non-profit leaders — now more than ever — must be able to clearly articulate what sets their organization apart from others like it and to communicate their vision and passion in a compelling manner.