Non-Profit Leadership: Paying it Forward Through Mentorship

Five people smiling and looking at someone speaking out of view
Five people smiling and looking at someone speaking out of view

A seasoned non-profit leader has had a significant number of experiences in building their non-profit that has provided them with experience, wisdom, and sometimes sheer tenacity. Non-profit leaders typically have achieved a lot with few resources and have survived some difficult circumstances where they had to learn both resilience and innovation. They have also learned a great deal about the growth and development of an organization. 

Why Non-Profits Are Special

Non-profit organizations are special places. They are driven by an altruistic mission that has to adapt to many different circumstances while providing a vital service to their clients and community. All of this has to be achieved while managing people, running a business, maintaining financial stability and launching new initiatives.

All of that activity and experience uniquely equips non-profit leaders with the ability to mentor other leaders who are in the early stages of building their own mission-driven non-profit. The experience and seasoning of a non-profit leader becomes a stewardship of knowledge and expertise that could be tremendously helpful to younger and newer non-profit leaders. Especially those who are just entering a new time of building their own impact in a world where there is so much need.

I know that I have felt very privileged to spend time with growing businesses and non-profits. I have helped them sort through some of the very difficult challenges of working through growth pains, financial struggles, strategic planning and those very interesting issues with developing and sustaining quality professional staff. I don’t think it’s an easy journey by any means. Having a professional by your side who has been through the processes and challenges is incredibly helpful.

The Challenges Of Non-Profit Leadership

Non-profit leadership can feel overwhelming and challenging. It is so empowering for a new non-profit leader to have someone who has been there, fought through some of the hard moments and has emerged successfully. Often those of us who have survived many adaptations do not realize how helpful it can be to stand with and guide new leaders so that they can benefit from the perspectives, insight and skills that a seasoned leader can offer. 

Non-profit leadership can also be a lonely journey. It’s inspiring and encouraging to have someone who will walk with you through the journey. We can exponentially grow our impact as leaders if we are willing to replicate our “lessons learned” to others who are on that journey of building valuable programs that will benefit society. Our many discoveries can be a catalyst for others to follow in our footsteps leaving a legacy of help and hope as they build new ways to create a safer and better world and place to live.

Gerry Vassar


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