Building Managerial and Organizational Capacity in Nonprofit Human Service Organizations Through a Leadership Development Program


Highly skilled managers are needed to lead organizations and enable them to survive in changing times, especially in this era when members of the baby boom generation are retiring from senior positions. Most short-term in-service management training programs for practicing managers reflect the abbreviated versions of content found in either undergraduate or graduate degree programs in nonprofit management. Recognizing the limitations of these traditional approaches to training future senior managers, a group of directors of nonprofit human service agencies serving children and families collaborated with a university to develop and implement a training program for their middle and senior managers to enhance their managerial leadership capacities. The program design and evaluation differs from traditional professional development programs in terms of the: 1) extensive involvement of agency directors and program participants in the program design; 2) learning projects that address agreed-upon agency issues that focus on both managing and leading; 3) participant-centered learning with individualized coaching; and 4) outcome-focus with respect to identifying new conceptual frameworks for training. This case study of the training design, implementation and evaluation concludes with implications for effectively preparing future generations for leadership roles in nonprofit human service organizations.

Austin, Michael J.
Regan, K.
Samples, M.
Schwartz, S.L.
Carnochan, S.
Publication date: 
May 31, 2011
Publication type: 
Journal Article