The CEOs of nonprofit agencies have always faced challenges that are uniquely theirs. These difficulties continue to change and evolve as both the industry and those who nonprofits aim to help do so as well. Even within the past five or 10 years, these challenges have proven to be unlike any others faced in years past.1. Increasing caseloads
Social service agencies have typically had caseloads that threaten to overwhelm the capabilities of their workers. This trend has only strengthened in light of budget cuts, increased health insurance premiums and other factors that leave people scrambling to make ends meet. CEOs are faced with helping their workers more effectively manage these caseloads in meaningful ways.
2. Increased regulation and compliance pressure
Privacy issues, as well as an assurance that each case is compliant with the required deadlines and regulations, means that social service agencies must constantly be kept abreast of the latest changes. The automatic notification and streamlining of such changes is crucial as it helps workers maintain their caseloads more effectively while still meeting compliance requirements.
3. Nonprofits' model increases in complexity
As nonprofit organizations continue to compete with other organizations for scarce resources and governmental allocations, the complexities of their model become increasingly evident. While nonprofits are essentially service organizations that operate using a specific tax code, their stakeholders expect a great deal. These organizations are expected to deliver top-notch services backed by a staff that is paid only minimally as well as a free volunteer base in order to maintain a low overhead.
CEOs must possess the knowledge and leadership skills to motivate staff and volunteers. Flexibility in their approach to both is necessary to accommodate the fluidity of the industry as well as the constantly changing landscape of regulations and staff.
4. Maintaining the productivity/innovation balance
As the leader of a nonprofit organization, a CEO needs to be able to effectively balance productivity and creativity. Being innovative can lead a nonprofit to better resources and funding options. In addition, applying creative solutions to the issues that a nonprofit is trying to solve helps improve their success rate.
These strategies can often lead to an increase in productivity over the long run. However, devoting the time and attention needed to develop such solutions takes away from the resources that must be applied to the day-to-day running of the organization. Developing an environment where employees and volunteers are given the opportunity to be creative and forging partnerships within their specific industry are two ways that these objectives can be met.
5. Feedback from all sides
CEOs of every stripe often find a blueprint for success and remain faithful to it without giving ample weight to other options. With the barrage of feedback coming at nonprofit leaders from social media channels, it can be easy to dismiss any negatives as vendettas from people who feel wronged. Often though, there is at least a kernel of truth in the feedback and being able to use that constructively is a skill that must be nurtured.