Each day, nonprofits provide life-changing services to their clients. While the work may look different, organizations are typically working toward a lofty goal—improving the lives of the people they serve. Showing up to work at a nonprofit isn’t about clocking in and out or making a certain amount of money. Case managers, data administrators, and other critical team members choose to work at nonprofits because they want to make a difference. In order for that to happen, nonprofit leaders must strike a delicate balance between motivating staff members and stoking their desire to serve, while also providing clear, actionable ways to help clients succeed.
Strong central leadership lays the foundation for a nonprofit’s culture and operations. Without passion from the top, a nonprofit may lose sight of the organization’s overall mission and values. But without straightforward processes in place, nonprofit team members may not know how to make a difference that’s measurable and creates lasting impact. That’s a lot to put on a leader—to inspire and encourage emotion, while also crafting plans and paths for success. In the for-profit space, leaders can typically be categorized as either a Visionary or an Integrator. While these roles may look different in the nonprofit space, when combined, these two leadership styles may be the secret ingredient nonprofits need to effectively channel compassion into life-changing service.