Opportunity in Change: Preparing Boston for Leader Transitions and New Models of Nonprofit Leadership

  Opportunity in Change cover
  Download the report.
While the threat of wholesale Baby Boom retirement has seemed imminent for some time, it is finally and undeniably happening now. At this forum, the Boston Foundation released its fifth Understanding Boston report on the subject of nonprofit effectiveness, with a sharp focus on leadership development in the face of an oncoming wave of transitions.

Opportunity in Change is based on extensive surveys and focus groups with nonprofit leaders throughout New England and a subset from Greater Boston. The report’s findings yield not only statistics on leadership transitions on the horizon, but also advice for nonprofits that could be equally sound for any organization. Indeed, if organizations don’t seize the moment and act strategically and proactively now, they may miss the chance to address many other longstanding challenges on a significant scale.

Additional Opportunities, Resources and Upcoming Events

Given the great interest in this topic, we wanted to share some additional opportunities, resources and upcoming events:

  • Please share via this brief survey how we can be most helpful as you begin conversations related to leader transitions, structural opportunities and developing a diverse and inclusive talent lens. We would appreciate your input to inform our next phase of work on the topic!
  • Read this recent article from the Nonprofit Quarterly on the core challenges facing nonprofit leadership based on more than 15 years of data. 
  • Attend this upcoming event if you are a funder who wants to learn more about how local and regional leadership trends will affect your grantees and other nonprofit partners.
  • Watch this recorded webinar about opportunities to engage adults ages 50+ as part of a multigenerational nonprofit talent approach.
  • Determine if Third Sector New England's What's Next: Leading a Thriving Transition program is right for you if you are a long-time nonprofit leader considering a transition.
  • Explore Third Sector New England's resource hub on executive transitions, which features a list of helpful publications and videos on the topic.
  • Have these conversations with others in your roles as nonprofit staff, board member, donor and funder; and please share this information widely with your networks.
  • Stay in touch as you continue to navigate leadership transitions and the opportunities and challenges along the way. We welcome you to share how this work progresses for you.

Thank you for your interest in this topic, for we know that it will take all of us working together to address the sector's long-standing challenges and to take best advantage of the incredible opportunities to strengthen all of our work.


Podcast with Hez G. Norton, Director of Partnerships and Leadership Initiatives for Third Sector New England and Jennifer W. Aronson, Associate Vice President for Programs