As a sector, nonprofits are poised at an historic moment.
Several developments are coming together to make the next few years a time of unusual opportunity for positive change in the way we are structured, the way we work together, and the way we interact with constituents.
The sector has already been buzzing about a perceived generation gap, particularly as it relates to leadership succession planning. But this generational shift has implications beyond the role of Executive Director.
The sector has to adapt to engage constituents as well as leaders.
The aging of the Boomer generation presents opportunities for emerging leaders to step into key roles in the sector and for experienced Boomer leaders to redefine their roles as they redefine retirement.
Still, the generations will need to bridge differences and work together as partners for years to come.
At the same time, many nonprofits will need to fundamentally shift their expectations for engagement of supporters in internal processes, decision-making, and “membership” activities if they are to survive. We have recently worked with several large membership groups which recognize that engaging younger generations will require a different kind of organization.