ProInspire: Addressing the Nonprofit Leadership Deficit by Utilizing Business Talent

Over the last several years interest in working in the social sector has soared. President Obama has brought considerable attention to the importance of volunteerism and civic engagement since the beginning of his presidency. Fellowships and post-graduate programs have steadily gained popularity over the last few years with volunteer and service programs like Teach for America, AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps experiencing a stark increase in applications. Even schools across the country, especially MBA programs, are incorporating courses like social entrepreneurship into their curriculum in response to growing interest in the field.

The Nonprofit Leadership Deficit

With this trend, the recruiting and hiring opportunities for nonprofits are tremendous. More importantly, this couldn't be a more critical time for such an opportunity to arise. In 2006 The Bridgespan Group released a white paper called The Nonprofit’s Leadership Deficit. In it the author Thomas Tierney identified three areas that nonprofits need to address in order to manage this deficit:

  1. Invest in leadership capacity
  2. Refine management rewards to retain and attract top talent
  3. Expand recruiting horizons and foster individual career mobility

The Founding of ProInspire

In 2008 ProInspire’s Founder and CEO, Monisha Kapila, attended an event where Tierney discussed the leadership deficit, which he declares is “the greatest challenge facing nonprofits over the next ten years.” In his white paper he suggested that the nonprofit sector would need to attract and develop 640,000 new senior managers -- 2.4 times the number currently employed, a level of demand that current pools of talent would not be able to fill.

It was there that her idea for ProInspire began to take shape. Having had much experience moving back and forth between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors throughout her career, she was very familiar with transitioning. She was often asked how to find opportunities in the nonprofit sector by friends and colleagues. At the same time she often found herself being asked by employers how to find other candidates with her similar business background and skillset.

It was then that she made a connection between these experiences and the leadership deficit Tierney talked about, realizing that it was an industry-wide issue. Naturally, she decided to do something about it.

Click here to finish reading about how ProInspire addresses the nonprofit leadership deficit on the Social Earth blog.