Category Archives: Leadership

Experiential-by-Design in Nonprofit Education

The University of San Francisco’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good  has been in the forefront of integrating community engagement in higher education. Recently, McCarthy Profiles for Community Engagement Learning included the reflections of Dr. Marco Tavanti on the MNA and now USF offered Academic Global Immersion (AGI-Rome) on Refugee Service Management as an example of experiential learning for global-local engagement (pp. 26-27).

Experiential learning, community engagement and project based education are probably the most important values behind the MNA Program. Our best practices in integrating professional experience and community have been recognized as emerging innovations and effective practices for nonprofit management education (NME), a field pioneered by Dr. Michael O’Neill in the MNA Program and his research.

In the accreditation process with the Nonprofit Academic Center Council (NACC) this feature of the MNA program was recognized as distinction of this degree as a learning beyond the classroom and beyond just service. In an article recently published by Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership (JNEL) the advantage and strategic process of of integrating  a Nonprofit Management Education (NME) programs like ours into experiential learning is crucial.

This is an excerpt from the Tavanti & Wilp JNEL article entitled: Experiential-By-Design: Integrating Experiential Learning Strategies into Nonprofit Management Education.

“Learning through real-world experiences is a valued pedagogy in higher education and an essential method for educating effective nonprofit managers in the 21st century. The practical fields of management education and nonprofit management education (NME) aim to develop appropriate skills, competencies, and mind-sets relevant to administrative, organizational, and leadership careers. These objectives cannot be sufficiently accomplished through in-class lectures and activities only. They require more hands-on and community-centered approaches that increase student exposure to real-world situations while benefiting the capacity development needs of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and the sector. When the NME field started offering nonprofit-specific graduate programs in the United States with the University of San Francisco’s Master in Nonprofit Organization Management (MPA/NOM in 1983), later renamed Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA in 1985), the need for experiential learning was not as urgent as today. Most of the students in the early development of the field were professionals with several years of experience in the sector. They sought theories to understand their own practices, along with university recognition for their leadership advancements (O’Neill & Fletcher, 1998; O’Neill & Young, 1988). The priority in these early years involved identifying the proper curriculum content rather than reflecting on the most appropriate pedagogical methods of delivery. In addition, because the students were already bringing their experiences into the classroom reflections and exercises, the need to utilize more community-centered methods was less of a priority. Michael O’Neill, along with Dennis R. Young and other NME pioneers, argued that the field had emerged to prepare those who were currently working in it or were preparing to be leaders and managers of private not-for-profit organizations, while educating public and private sector leaders and managers to interact more effectively with nonprofits (Dobkin Hall, O’Neill, Vinokur-Kaplan, Young, & Lane, 2001). Today, the distinction between very experienced and less experienced professional students is a major characteristic of the student population. This demands more strategic attention about how instructors teach and students learn, while providing more opportunities for university–community partnerships for capacity development. Properly designed experiential education activities, courses, and programs are fundamental for advancing the professional capacity of the sector and its future leaders (Cacciamani, 2017; Fenton & Gallant, 2016).

[…] “In graduate NME, experiential learning is and should be more than active learning or service learning. It is about working with NPOs to increase their organizational capacity, while accompanying students to become more effective in their competencies and capacity to consult, assess, and collaborate. The current shifts from experiential learning to experiential education and from service learning to community-engaged learning show the contributions of these models. The strategies and contextualization of the experiences in the University of San Francisco’s MNA Program can be adapted by other institutions and NME programs. They can do this by considering a community-centered model of education (Model 1), by considering a pedagogical praxis of students and community transformation (Model 2), and by designing programs that are relevant to local and global communities (Model 3).”

Model 1

This illustration shows the progression that NME program need to have to expand from a Teacher-centered model of teaching and learning into a Student-centered and beyond into a Community-centered type of experiential and project based methods

Model 2

This illustration shows how the methods for teaching and learning through experience and immersions align with the analysis and contextual engagement values of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigms expressed as Praxis Learning.

Model 3

This illustration highlighting the AGI-Rome methods for refugee service and forced migration management indicates the importance of connecting the global immersion with the local engagement for educating global-local (glocal) mindsets while promoting capacities for working beyond borders.

[…]  “Active learning, problem-based learning, project-based learning, service learning, and place-based learning are some of the more well-known methods associated with experiential education (Godfrey, 1999). With the growth of NME programs internationally, there is also a clearer need for educating professionals not only with theoretical, philosophical, and historical notions but also with feasible projects and activities benefiting the learner and the partnering organizations.

Experiential learning is a growing field characterized by specific applied methods, a value-based philosophy, and shared benefits across teaching, learning, and communities. “Experiential education is a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities. (Association for Experiential Education, para 4). This definition is not exclusive to formal education, but it is relevant to a general approach to teaching, learning, and engagement. A wide diversity of methods, strategies, and approaches relate to practices of experiential learning across disciplines. However, such a diversity is also a source of confusion in the field.

Wurdinger and Carlson (2010) provide a useful overview of the most effective approaches to experiential learning:

  1. Active Learning: A group of experiential learning activities associated with classroom strategies such as role playing, simulation, debates, presentations, and case studies.
  2. ProblemBased Learning: Inquiry-based learning activities through in-depth investigations, self-directed research, and group-work inquiries.
  3. ProjectBased Learning: A type of experiential learning that stimulates students’ interests while developing their project management capacity, technology, and research skills and analytical presentation capacity. It can be individual or group work, teacher directed, student directed, or a combination of the two.
  4. Service Learning: A well-known approach to teaching and learning that often includes planning (community needs), action (service), and reflection (learning). The emphasis is on learning. It can be student centered or community based.
  5. Placed-Based Learning: A learning focused on a particular place or context. It is a holistic approach to education that uses the immersion into a context to support the vitality of a community. It can be far (global) or near (local).

Excerpt from:

Tavanti, M. & Wilp, E. A. (2018). Experiential-By-Design: Integrating Experiential Learning Strategies into Nonprofit Management Education. Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership (JNEL), Special Issue of the Bi-Annual Nonprofit Academic Center Council Conference, 1-23. ISSN: 2157-0604.

Available full text at the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership (JNEL) https://js.sagamorepub.com/jnel 

University of San Francisco MNA students meeting with the UNHCR EU representative during the Refugee Service Management AGI-Rome Global Immersion Program – January 2017. Many operators at this international organization have started their career with volunteers experiences and management entry works in nonprofits and NGOs serving forced migrants.
Dr. Tavanti with MNA and MIMS students during the AGI-Rome international Immersion Program 2018 after the visit to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in their Italian office in Rome to understand their strategies to advocate for human rights and migration rights.

Learn more about these methods and the impact on the students and our communities here http://agirome.blogspot.com/ 

Learn more how the MNA Program integrate experiential learning for nonprofit management and leadership education here https://www.usfca.edu/management/graduate-programs/nonprofit-administration

Learn more about how our MNA program students learn through collaborative projects with nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in the Capstone Projects and Practicums for social impact analysis here http://usfblogs.usfca.edu/nonprofit/research/  

Nonprofit Innovation for Sustainability

Ocean CleanUp Launching in San Francisco on Saturday September 8, 2018. Photo Credit: Dr. Marco Tavanti, Ph.D.

Did you know that nonprofit are at the forefront of social and sustainable innovation? In spite the persisting misconceptions of what nonprofits really are and the studied nonprofit cycle of starvation, nonprofit organizations are cradles for remarkable innovative solutions to solve our community, social and global problems.

The Rockefeller Foundation has been contributing to assess and scale nonprofit sustainable and social innovation. We appreciate the many heroes (mostly SHEroes) that become founders of initiatives and organizations to respond to specific social/environmental needs. But we need to go beyond Heroprenuership and tackle the systemic issues that prevent innovation to really be socially relevant, community beneficial and reflective of sustainable values. Dan Pallotta’s challenges to stagnant ‘charity’ solutions to systemic problems remain relevant today in the nonprofit world. Innovation for the social and common good goes beyond narrow approaches of voluntarism and philanthropy but also of businesses and governance.

Big problems needs innovative and cross-sector solutions! They also require innovation in the way we structure and legislate organizations that should fulfill triple bottom lines for social (people), environmental (planet) and economic (prosperity), but also for policies (policies) and sustainable impact (partnerships).  There are many example that already do this. One example of nonprofit social/environmental and technological  innovation is The Ocean CleanUp, an initiative started with a high school student, Boyan Slat. The objective of the organization(s) is to offer concrete, innovative and feasible solution to trash that accumulates “in 5 ocean garbage patches, the largest one being the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California. If left to circulate, the plastic will impact our ecosystems, health and economies. Solving it requires a combination of closing the source, and cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean.” These solutions aim at attract nonprofit donations but also social/sustainable business investments and government commitments for the oceans, along technological advancements, volunteer engagement and social consciousness.

Donations for The Ocean CleanUp can be in US dollars through the The Ocean Cleanup North Pacific Foundationa 501(c)(3) not-for-profit foundation registered in the USA or in Euros through the Stichting The Ocean Cleanupan ANBI foundation registered in the Netherlands. Both foundations pursuing the same goal of the organization. An ambitious project of this kind requires to go beyond innovation into scaling and impact and sustainable impact. Learn more about this project and how the technological innovation and scientific discoveries work in parallel with government policies, human behaviors and business opportunities to make the world and our oceans prosperous for life to thrive for all.

Social Movements: Seeing Change Through to Fruition with Strategy and Partnerships

By Claire Lewis

Earlier this year, I participated in my first protest ever – The Women’s March. I cannot remember who organized it or who invited me to the Facebook event group; I just knew I wanted to make a difference. If raising awareness was the key objective, then we definitely accomplished that goal. According to USA Today, 2.6 individuals across 32 countries participated in this historical march. Celebrities from America Ferrerra to Madonna gave powerful speeches about the importance of women’s rights. News stations across the globe covered this momentous day.

How was such a feat accomplished? The answer is social media. Facebook protest events across various cities and states filled my newsfeed leading up to the day. I witnessed many friends mark they were “interested” or “going” to these events.

However, despite this outpouring of support, there is little to no reform. One of the issues with “social media” marches is the lack of strategy behind the effort. I, like many others, was unclear as to the main purpose or end-goal of the Women’s March. Was it a particular policy change? If so, was it related to sexual harassment, gender inequality in pay, freedom of choice, and/or all of the above?

In order to sustain long-term change in policy and legislation, strategy, goals, and hard work need to be put forth and adhered to. This Ted Talk goes into more detail on the lack of strategy behind online uprisings. As, Zeynep points out, the Civil Rights movement was incredibly successful because there was a well thought out strategy, what she refers to as “slow and sustained” and “painstaking long-term work.” The Civil Rights movement also had specific, tangible goals such as ending segregation and reversing “separate but equal.” Both individuals (ex. MLK) as well as the work of SMO’s led to major change. For example, the NAACP was instrumental in policy change. NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall, challenged segregation in the landmark case, Plessy V. Ferguson that later led to Brown v. Board of Education. The Brown Case resulted in large-scale protests such as the March on Washington.

These powerful protests are the reason for both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Clearly, both SMOs and individuals are important in a social movement. So the question is, in our current social media climate, how can we harness the power of these social media inspired protests and actually produce tangible results? To me, this is more important than whether an SMO or an individual creates a protest event on Facebook. I do not care who starts it, I just want to contribute and see change actually happen.

The first step is creation of a strategy. Many SMOs already have strategy and goals built into their programming. For example, the NAACP has various toolkits for social change initiatives. The trick is to connect SMOs to these grassroots movements so that everyone is on the same page.

Below are some ideas I brainstormed that could create movements that are more effective. I assume (and hope) that at least some of these ideas are already in place.

  • SMOs identifying and working with various grassroots protest planners to create strategies and goals together that can be communicated to the masses
  • SMOs training leaders to be part of these small grassroots movements and educate groups
  • SMOs attending various protests as guest speakers and/or handing out information
  • SMOs collaborating with influential social change leaders such as Michael Moore to ensure a goal is put in place and communicated. He does a great job, but a partnership with an SMO could be even more impactful
  • SMOs and/or individuals harnessing various media sources to make it clear what the public needs to do in order to achieve the goal (make it easy to do, easy to understand)
  • SMOs educating the public at various venues on what legislation is related to the current issue, what propositions to watch out for, etc.
  • SMOs partnering with small grassroots groups to create follow-up sessions after protests
  • SMOs and/or individuals partnering with schools and universities to provide education on various social issues and legislation to build a pipeline

Our current social media climate has so much potential for enacting real, tangible change. By harnessing the strategies that SMOs already construct and articulating clear goals, we have a chance at influencing policy change. SMOs and individuals can be much more powerful as a team, and I hope there will be more partnerships in the future. I am so proud of the Women’s March and awareness it spread, but I want to see women receive equal pay, a right to choose, and fair trials in the cases of rape and sexual assault. I want to see not just a short-term uprising, but long-term change. The partnership of SMOs and individuals can act as a catalyst to bring reform to fruition.

Using Neutrality to Protect Humanity

By Hayley Walker and Valdeir Faria Filho

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are functioning in our global society, some better than others. Some are well-known (CARE, Amnesty International, Red Cross) and use effective marketing techniques, lobbying efforts, and provide programs internationally. Others are small, local organizations that work to make life better for specific groups of people. Regardless, these diverse and varying NGOs have multiple commonalities, though they may not be fully visible on the surface. All, however, embark on missions to protect humanity.

The World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) is an international organization that aims to unite NGOs and promote peace and wellbeing across the globe. WANGO offers resources and support to create connections among organizations striving to create a more just, sustainable world for all. As a proponent of networks and collaborations, WANGO sheds light on the synergy that results from global organizations working towards a common goal. With widespread government support, exceptional visionaries, and dedicated donors, WANGO has worked for the past 17 years to encourage NGOs to connect across borders and without boundaries, and to hold steadfast to the following guiding principles (WANGO Code of Ethics):

  • Responsibility, service, and public mindedness
  • Cooperation beyond boundaries
  • Human rights and dignity
  • Religious freedom
  • Transparency and accountability
  • Truthfulness and legality

NGOs, in the broadest sense, cannot be for profit organizations, must be independent of government, must not interfere in domestic state affairs, and must not advocate violence (Kaloudis, 2017). However, there comes a time when disaster relief and humanitarian organizations must interfere—or rather, intervene—in domestic affairs in an effort to protect humanity. Non-governmental organizations are frequently caught in the cross-fire of waring territories, failed states, and desperate civilians, with one goal in mind: to provide relief for those in need.

During times of crisis, NGOs rely deeply on their neutrality to aid them in reaching the most people possible. In accordance with WANGO’s principle of working towards cooperation beyond boundaries, neutrality refers to refraining from taking sides on issues regarding political, cultural, religious affiliation, or other sensitive issues that may result in conflict. That does not mean that NGOs disappear or go into hiding during such conflicts, but rather work harder to serve all affected—regardless of their stance on the issues. Impactful NGOs uphold the policy of not “taking sides,” and this is crucial to the safety of workers, volunteers, donors, and civilians. However, in recent years NGOs have faced difficulty in mitigating suffering as impartial entities, in part due to assumed association with national governments or international organizations (Brechenmacher, 2015).  Aid and relief of organizations urge conflicting parties to respect their neutral stance as they provide desperately needed services to civilians, but reality does not always allow provide for this ideal situation. State militaries may claim alliances with NGOs, and rebel forces may see this alliance as a threat to their progress. NGOs, however, frequently default to the emphasizing the value of impartiality in conflict zones and assert their neutral stance to relieve human suffering—a practice that is often debated. In order to reach civilians who may be trapped or displaced deep within war zones and conflict arenas, NGOs must carefully negotiate with opposing parties. They must ensure they remain under enough security to serve, but enough neutrality to relieve the suffering civilians from all sides.

Leading from the Ground Up: Establishing Ethics and Social Responsibility in USF’s Nonprofit Student Council

By: Brandon Jones, Greg Justice, and Elizabeth Silva,

2017-18 Full-Time Cohort 

The study of ethics – historically known as “Moral Philosophy” – traces its roots to the time of early Greece, having been discussed significantly by Socrates and Plato (01), and mainly, in the pursuit of “justice.”  (No relation.)

Fast forward over two millennia – give or take a few hundred years, and we find ourselves studying ethics in a new capacity.  That is, how do we build an ethical and socially responsible student government from the ground up, paying tribute today’s standards, yet leaving an ethical structure for future cohorts?

The University of San Francisco’s Master of Nonprofit Administration (“MNA”) has within the program a fully autonomous student government – the Nonprofit Student Council (“NSC”).  NSC serves the needs, ideas, and professional development of the MNA student body.  In our official affairs, governing documents, and the spirit of our governance, NSC is building an ethical foundation, providing a respectful and dignified environment for current and future students.

NSC’s Core Values

From the very beginning of NSC’s deliberations, the executive board – the collective six officers pictured right –  has stressed the need for engagement, collaboration, and representation; access and inclusion; oversight and accountability; and, most importantly, diversity, as our guiding principles.  As the governing council for MNA students, we benefit greatly with these values, making sure we do our best to represent every student in a thoughtful and equitable manner.

NSC’s Mission Statement

Our guiding principles are best embodied in the NSC mission statement, memorializing our official commitment to these values.  The purpose of NSC is to, “provide a unified voice for students with a focus on promoting and improving the MNA program at The University of San Francisco. The NSC provides a vehicle for student perspectives, ideas, and a means of promoting events on behalf of the student body. The NSC club will promote co-curricular activities pertinent to the nonprofit field as well as support and encourage collaboration with other nonprofit professionals…”  Again, embedded in NSC’s mission statement is collaboration, representation, and inclusion, all being values allowing for ‘better’ and inclusive governance.

Code of Ethics

NSC has recently initiated the process for designing a Conflict-of-Interest policy, catered to our specific affairs and operations, and will be considering this at the next officer’s meeting.  Besides implementing this best practice, the executive board values an orderly governance system, equally available and protective of all parties.  Despite having a Treasurer and Vice-President for Communications, all financial records and official communications are shared with officers, program and university officials, and most importantly, MNA students. (We have even established a program-wide email listserv, guaranteeing all MNA students – part- and full-time – are well-informed, and have a timely accounting of their officer’s.)

Ethics Officer

Unlike other student governments and organizations, NSC has taken the step to permanently secure the implementation of oversight, access, accountability, and other related practices, with a new officer position.  Appointed just last week, Greg Finkelstein serves as the Director of Standards and Practices, ensuring organizational compliance with governing and ethical protocol.  Finkelstein also chairs the newly formed Standards and Practices Committee, bringing in independent and impartial students overseeing NSC’s compliance.

Structure

When considering any program, service, or obligation, NSC creates an “Officer’s Report,” providing assessments for risk, finance, governance, and overall compliance.  These reports provide an extra layer of administrative and ethical analysis, making sure our values and guiding principles are effectively considered in all matters before the executive board.

The board also recently adopted a 72-hour deadline for introducing and disseminating all agenda items and reports, guaranteeing equal access and consideration to all parties and stakeholders in official affairs.  Further, although our meetings regularly take place physically on our campus, all meetings are also broadcast via Zoom – a webinar platform, allowing all who desire to participate to do so.

Conclusion

Further ethical drivers – such as, risk assessment and governance analyses, leadership and ethics trainings, as well as, organizational socialization – will be the path NSC takes in our ongoing ethics quest.   Despite implementing these best practices and guiding principles, NSC cannot rest on any laurels, as we recognize maintaining an ethical and socially responsible organization requires continuous development, organizational reflection, and ongoing assessment and refinement of the overall governing structure.  

For more information about NSC, please contact NSC@usfca.edu, or visit our website at www.usfnsc.org, or Twitter @usfnsc.

Silva serves as Secretary, Justice as President, and Jones is a contributor to NSC’s development.

Nonprofit Student Council Appoints New Officer Positions

 

New Council Officers will help maintain institutional knowledge, better represent part-time students, and provide greater oversight and inclusion for all NSC affairs.

SAN FRANCISCO – With its mission to, “provide a unified voice for students with a focus on promoting and improving the MNA program at the University of San Francisco,” the Nonprofit Student Council (NSC) has appointed three new officer positions, better serving the Nonprofit Administration (MNA) student body, and advancing NSC’s mission.

  • Preserving NSC’s institutional knowledge, and harnessing prior leadership experiences, Bea Duncan has been appointed as Immediate Past-President – having served as President in 2016-17, now providing insight and best practices to NSC.
  • Increasing the Council’s directive for greater part-time student engagement and representation,

Katriellle Risa Veslenio (right)  has been appointed Part-Time Ambassador.

  • Lastly, providing greater oversight, increased access, and overall compliance with program and university protocol, Greg Finkelstein (below) has been appointed as Director of Standards and Practices, also chairing the same named committee.

“I am excited by these positions and our new officers, as they memorialize our significant efforts to increase engagement and representation, making sure all MNA students have access to having their voice heard,” stated NSC 17-18 President, Greg Justice.

Moving forward, the Council also hopes to appoint Part-Time class representatives.

For general NSC information, please feel free to contact NSC@usfca.edu, or contact Lense Eshete – leshete@dons.usfca.edu– for release-related inquiries.

Founded in August 2015, the Nonprofit Student Council is the official student association for the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program, providing a unified voice for MNA students, engagement in professional activities and opportunities, and practicing the transformational leadership needed to enhance the missions of University of San Francisco, USF’s School of Management, and the overall MNA program.  Follow NSC on Twitter @usfnsc, or visit us online at: www.usfnsc.org.

Servant Leadership In Nonprofit Culture

A flipped pyramid showing the structure of servant leadership (Haaff, 2015)

By: Greg Finkelstein, Kia Harris, and Jenny Shen, MNA ’18

In nonprofit entities, leadership is the cornerstone of success. Without good leadership, regardless of how impressive the individual components may be, productivity is far from maximized, and employees themselves may become marginalized. There are a plethora of leadership techniques which can be enacted at many levels, but their effectiveness varies depending on the environment in which they are employed. However, given the nature of nonprofits, servant leadership is the universal perfect match.

Servant leadership is a concept that many leaders will never be able to follow. They may feel that being a servant leader means that power is being yielded from them to other employees. This has nothing to do with servant leadership. A good leader can lead from the front, from behind, or from the side. Beyond that, a good servant leader is still clearly in charge. This concept does not mean that final authority shifts away from management and into the hands of the other employees.

To become a servant leader, one must have the mentality that their role is to support and address the needs of those who work under them (Johnson, 2017). Thinking from the employee’s perspective, checking in with them, and being receptive to feedback all give servant leaders insight on how to better facilitate the work being done. There are constantly new models or seminars on how to be a better leader, but what will always make sense is directly asking those who are being led how they want their situations improved.

The concept of servant leadership fits nonprofits perfectly because of both their virtues and shortcomings. Nonprofits usually have employees who truly want to be there and work towards the cause. Often, these employees are initially attracted to the organization because they align with the mission statement and the values emphasized. In this light, engaging in servant leadership is a very logical approach. Truly supporting those who have a high level of motivation to accomplish the organization’s mission and affinity for the cause at hand makes the most sense. If employees already want to work hard and efficiently, pushing and prodding them doesn’t help, but will instead wear people down over time. Supporting them, addressing their specific needs, and making the work environment as easy to maneuver as possible are the best ways to increase productivity when motivation is already high.

In addition to virtues, the shortcomings of nonprofits are another great reason to engage in servant leadership. Nonprofits may address a wide range of social issues, but they share many common challenges: being low on funds, having too few staff, and not having enough resources. Even large, multi-million dollar nonprofits have a limited ability to pay market rate wages. New nonprofits face these challenges and more, as their novelty and presumably small size makes them greatly vulnerable (Bielefeld, 2014). This gives the impression that nonprofits are at a disadvantage. Indeed, being at a disadvantage is far from anything new to nonprofits, but, rather, closer to the norm. Interestingly, there are significant drawbacks to relying on monetary reward as an incentive, as many for-profits do. Most importantly, it breeds fickle employees. Just like there is always a bigger fish, someone elsewhere will always be able to offer a bigger paycheck.

Clearly, nonprofits must rely on something more substantial than monetary reward. If an employee must accept that their work will not garner as many financial gains as compared to a similar position in the for-profit world, the last thing they want is to be led around by a totalitarian who doesn’t seem to respect their input and views them as replaceable commodities. Indeed, that would not be an easy environment to be in regardless of the sector. Additionally, nonprofit workers may be asked to go above and beyond their duties with no increase in tangible incentives. When this happens, knowing there is a leader who will do their best to address their employees’ needs is a great source of security and makes accepting the new obligations less daunting. The vanguard to overcoming these challenges can only be leadership, and servant leadership addresses these issues particularly well.

Servant leadership does not need to be the only management mechanism employed. Other models, ideas, and practices can blend well with servant leadership. For example, the 7 virtues of effective leaders, courage, integrity, humility, reverence, optimism, compassion, and justice, all fit perfectly under the frame of servant leadership (Johnson, 2017). If a leader views putting the needs of her or his staff as primary importance, they are then free to continue instilling motivation in a variety of ways. It is clear that embracing the unique traits and challenges of nonprofits is crucial to implementing good leadership. Servant leadership highlights these features, while empowering individuals to contribute as much as they can to something they believe in. It is no surprise, then, that this technique is rising in popularity.

Eudaimonia in the Third Sector

By: Kyle Pate

What is eudaimonia, and what does it mean for leaders in the social sector? Eudaimonia is the satisfaction in living a virtuous life (Britannica).  Leaders in the third sector can better serve their organizations by achieving eudaimonia through practicing the ethical virtues outlined by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Unlike other exhausting processes of performing ethical evaluations (Johnson, 2013), Aristotle’s philosophy offers a way to become an ethical leader as a lifelong practice.

Being a Virtuous Person

In Aristotle’s view, the way to develop ethical thinking is to emanate another virtuous person. One should find a moral exemplar, and follow their lead. This person could be someone President Obama or Oprah. According to Aristotle, the ability to be ethical is part of our human nature, and to pursue being a virtuous person is the life-long function of being a human. One’s moral exemplar does not need to be perfect, but there are certain virtues they should habitually practice (Rayner, 2011):

  1. Courage
    Act with bravery and valor. We are seeking the perfect center between cowardice and recklessness.
  2. Temperance
    Seek to offer what is appropriate for the situation, but do not censor ourselves into silence.
  3. Liberality
    This shouldn’t be hard for those in the third sector! Share generously, giving what can be offered freely.
  4. Magnificence
    Aristotle believed a virtuous person could be found through simple observation. Be radiant and charismatic in one’s affairs.
  5. Pride
    Not to be confused with one of the seven sins, the virtue of pride is taking satisfaction in one’s work. Like a craftsman who finished a magnificent piece, one should feel pride in their mastery.
  6. Honor
    Aristotle glorified fraternal love and respect. Virtuous honor is not only about one’s character, but creating a culture of honor through reverence for others.
  7. Good Temper
    As a leader, remain level headed and considerate.
  8. Friendliness
    Despite the situation, it is virtuous to maintain a friendly manner. Imagine a courteous southern politician gracefully ignoring a reporter’s pointed question.
  9. Truthfulness
    Be frank with others.
  10. Wit
    Like a gracious host or charismatic speaker, a smart sense of humor will earn a person favor and illumine their virtue .
  11. Camaraderie
    Aristotle believed in brotherly love, extending a hand to fellow man. Revel in camaraderie with others.
  12. Justice
    Judge with impartiality and fairness.

Achieving Eudaimonia

Leaders who follow Aristotle’s philosophy become ethical through practicing the virtues in all their affairs. The ethical focus is shifted from a situational response, to pattern of behavior. Psychologists posit that moral principles are often a matter of instinct rather than rationality (Johnson, 2013). Aristotle’s philosophy of virtue supports this view, recommending individuals develop their instinctual response through habitual practice of virtuous behavior.

Ethical leaders are to avoid “vices” in search of the golden mean (Nicomachean Ethics). Every virtue has the potential to become destructive, or simply distasteful (either in violation of virtuosity.) Eudaimonia is achieved through the moderation of behavior towards the golden mean, and away from extremes. Join in camaraderie, but do not fall to tribalism. Practice impartiality, but do not become disassociated. Be jovial, but not inattentive.

Aristotle’s is an advantageous moral framework in the third sector. A leader’s decision-making is dominated by perspective of a spectator. Virtue ethics are intentionally ambiguous, requiring an actor to view themselves in third person to assess their own behavior. The “right” thing to do is defined by following what a perfectly virtuous person would do in any given situation. Such conduct will ingratiate leaders with donors, foster strategic partnership, and shine in service to the organization’s constituents.

 

Leadership for Social Value Organizations

valuebased
Image Source: http://pt.slideshare.net/TikiWen/value-based-leadership-50056805/31

Leadership for Social Value Organizations

By Julie Brown, MNA ’17

With the rise of corporate responsibility among for-profit corporations and the creation of benefit corporations and low-profit limited liability companies (Cooney, Koushyar, Lee, & Murray, 2014), the nonprofit sector is expanding and in the midst of being redefined. The leaders of these socially minded organizations are finding innovative ways to address social issues, redefining ways to measure social impact, creating new funding models, and are putting pressure on the nonprofit sector to professionalize. Today’s nonprofit leaders are being challenged to compete with these social enterprises while also being held to a higher set of ethical standards    (Bowman, 2012). The ethical standards are substantially higher in the nonprofit sector because their mission is to provide a social benefit with income generated through donations and grants.

In order to keep up with the sector changes and its high ethical standards, it is difficult to find a nonprofit leader who possesses the experience and the skillsets needed to manage through changes such as these (Callanan, Gardner, Mendonca & Scott, 2014). According to Harry Jansen Kraemer, Jr. (2011).” Today, there is a widespread lack of confidence in leadership, in business, government, education and elsewhere. Every leader needs to regain and maintain trust. Value based leadership may not be a cure for everything that ails us, but it’s definitely a good place to start.” A value-based leader makes decisions and actions rooted in the leader’s ethical and moral foundation (Copeland, 2014). A leader’s values may include, but are not limited to honesty, open communication, humility, integrity, hard work, and compassion (Rao, 2015). By employing their values, a nonprofit leader not only makes decisions based on what’s right for the organization, but they also encourage others to act in a similar manner (Ethical Leadership, 2013). Even though they are leading their organization through difficult times and may not possess all the skillsets needed, a value based leader is able to instill a culture of ethical behavior among employees and volunteers, seek new revenues sources that align with their organization’s mission and the sector, and help create a sustainable organization.

Regardless of an organization’s size or mission, employees and volunteers alike respond to the moral cues of their leaders. The tone a nonprofit leader sets is critical in an organization’s culture of integrity (Ethical Leadership, 2013). Since no two people have the same set of values or moral judgment, a value based leader adopts and enforces a code of conduct and ethical policies to help clarify what is expected, to try and deter misconduct, promote trust, and minimize conflicts of interests (Rhode and Packel, 2009). Employees and volunteers look to the leader to determine what behavior is acceptable and what is not and will emulate those behaviors. The value-based leader encourages and sometimes demands others in their organization act in a similar fashion.

The leader’s values not only influence employees and volunteers, but also impact donors and the organization’s ability to fundraise. The values of the nonprofit’s leader play a critical part when it comes to earning and maintaining the trust of donors and managing their donations in an effective and transparent manner. With the value based leadership approach, the leader values doing what is right for the organization over the dollars (Rao, 2015). This isn’t to say value based leaders do not care about money; instead, the values of the leader and the organization make sure the revenue sources align with the values of the organization and are used effectively.

In addition, while developing new revenue streams, the value-based leader considers how clients and donors might view these new streams. The leader also considers which revenue generating activities are appropriate for the sector (Bowman, 2012)According to M.S. Rao (2015).” When leaders put profits before values and elevate their interests above others, their businesses are bound to collapse.”

A nonprofit leader has an important role in how an organization fulfills its mission. They also play an integral part in setting and enforcing the values and culture of the organization. Employees and volunteers reflect the values and ethics modeled by their leader. Donors look to the values of a nonprofit organization to determine whether they will invest their dollars or not. The values a leader exhibits in a nonprofit organization often outlive their tenure and can help or hinder the organization in the future. With the entrance of new social impact models, the call for increased transparency, the need to diversify revenue streams and report on the organization’s social impact, nonprofit leaders are faced with a diverse and complex set of challenges. In today’s environment, it is unlikely that a nonprofit leader will possess the experience or all the skillsets needed to lead through these changes. Despite all the challenges a nonprofit leader may face and the high expectation placed on them, a value based leader approach can help navigate through these complexities. By staying true to their values and doing what is right for the nonprofit organization, a value-based leader is able to effectively lead their organization through difficult situations and uncertain times. Not only will the strong ethics of the leader shine through, the strong ethics and values will live on within the organization for years to come.

 

Nonprofit Labor Force

Yeswecan-Nonprofits

Too many people still don’t know or underestimate the labor and economic force of the nonprofit sector.  The reality is that nonprofits provides 11.4 million jobs, accounting for 10.3% of the United States total workforce in 2012 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). Between 2000 and 2010 the nonprofit employment grew at about 18%, a faster rate than the overall U.S. economy (The Independent Sector – The Urban Institute, 2012). The nonprofit workforce is the third largest of all U.S. industries behind retail trade and manufacturing (Center for Civil Society Study, 2012).

The University of San Francisco’s MNA Program is located A few minutes away from Rosie the Riveter Museum, a National landmark commemorating the power of women in the workforce during WWII (Rosie Visitor Center). The museum, with the weekly presence of the few still living ‘Rosies’ is a  powerful reminder of what is possible during difficult times and with the determination of workers (mostly women) serving the country for a better future for all. The missions of our nonprofit organizations with its ambitious objectives mobilize many women and men to make the world a better place through health, education, advocacy, and many other necessary human services (Top NP Missions).

As we celebrate Labor Day in the Unites States (AKA May Day in the rest of the world), we recall the importance of integrating hard work with justice and dignity in the workplace. This is why nonprofits generally do not just strive to work efficiently and effectively for their services but also advocate for adequate policies and recognition of human rights, labour rights, environmental rights and other specific rights like disability, children, indigenous, etc. Integrating production with justice has been at the root of labor struggle and continues to be a priority in the nonprofit sector along social movements and unions seeking worker’s justice and dignity. This integration is inherently true in our social missions and it is gradually much better integrated in our own nonprofit workplaces (Overtime Regulations 2016).

The nonprofit sector, also known as the voluntary sector, is also rapidly professionalizing and requiring appropriate normative, comparative standards and specialized educational programs (see NACC). Of course the main drive for nonprofit workforce remains its dedication to the cause and ‘transformational leadership.’ But the value-based and mission-driven characteristics of ‘transformational leadership’ cannot be sustainable unless based on a relation of justice, dignity and fairness. In other words, the transformational spirit and dedication of the nonprofit workforce is and must be based on clear standards of transactional (contractual) leadership that aims at promoting fairness by avoiding exploitation while stimulating creativity and social innovation (Tavanti, 2008).