249469 Understanding of Leadership Capacity on Nonprofit Operational Efficiency: A cross sectional survey of RI Executive Directors

Monday, October 31, 2011

Alison Buckser, MPH , Public Health Solutions, Providence, RI
Carla Lundquist , Rhode Island Department of Health, Providence, RI
Cherie Nolin , Public Health Solutions, West Greenwich, RI
Nonprofit organizations are the gateways to the community. Federal and state agencies rely on their nonprofit partners for a great deal of their program implementation, ranging from data collection to HIV/AIDS education to emergency preparedness. Since government agencies invest millions of dollars every year through grants and contracts, it is vitally important that the nonprofits are able to operate at highest efficiency.

Organizational success depends upon skilled leadership. Unfortunately due to budget concerns, many small and medium sized nonprofits hire promising yet relatively inexperienced candidates as Executive Directors (EDs). There is concern that a considerable proportion of these EDs have serious capacity problems, such as finance, personnel management, and board development. While the ED is struggling to learn the necessary skills, the organization cannot operate at its highest efficiency. Sometimes EDs are able to learn quickly enough to make a successful transition. All too often, EDs become worn out and leave after only a few years. Then the organization must take attention away from its programs to go through another search and hiring process. Many small nonprofits go through a revolving door of EDs every two to three years.

A cross-sectional descriptive survey of Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island was conducted in 2010. This presentation will discuss the profile of Executive Director capacity, describe which types of EDs and organizations are in need of support, and assessed what specific supports/training EDs' need and their interest. The survey focused particular attention on health and human service nonprofits.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
1) Evaluate the challenges Executive Directors face in leading non-profit organizations. 2) Describe the skill sets Executive Directors need to successfully administer non-profit organizations. 3) Discuss which types of Executive Directors and organizations are in need of support.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I designed and supervised the survey myself as part of a larger project on improving executive director capacity.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
RI Department of Health Executive Director Survey Independent Contractor (contracted research and clinical trials)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.