Nonprofits Pressured as Jobs Remain Open

Apr 21, 2009

Nonprofits, already strained from declining donations, are facing another problem that could compound their woes: widening vacancies in senior leadership positions.

Despite the swelling ranks of jobless Americans from big corporate firms, many charities have been searching for months to fill key management roles. All told, about 77,000 senior management positions were open at nonprofits in 2008, according to a survey by the Bridgespan Group, a Boston firm that advises nonprofits. Those vacancies were 43% higher than Bridgespan had forecast two years earlier. What’s more, an additional 24,000 senior positions are expected to open this year, Bridgespan found.

James Cleveland, president of Boston-based Jumpstart, a nonprofit that pairs college-student mentors with disadvantaged preschool children, has seen his staff stretched thin.

He would like to spend more time courting donors. Instead, he is often tied up overseeing the charity because he lacks a vice president of operations. Another unmet need: a vice president for government relations to help maintain the nonprofit’s AmeriCorps community-service funding and nurture other donor relationships.

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