Leader of a Nonprofit Organization Research Paper

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Jardina, likewise, articulated that "my goal is to push every employee to learn and grow. I encourage all to write down personal and professional development plans."

Miscellaneous Suggestions

Other recommendations for motivating employees of NPOs are more dependent on the situation and include the following:

1. Team Unity

Alatrista and Arrowsmith's (2004) field study provides an example where social support -- the feeling of belonging to a team- may fill in the gap when employees have lost sight of their overarching goal. The employees in their case no longer felt attracted or responsible to their overall directors: at best they saw them as distant and unresponsive or even as a cause of difficulties for the local team and the service that they provided. The employees, therefore, had to be attracted by alternate means, which in this case were the quality of the team relations and the personality of their direct team manager. Indeed, the workers who could not cope with the socialization process tended to leave the organization. The team factor -- social support -- was a significant aspect in retaining their involvement.

Related to this is the aspect of having someone available to support volunteers and potential volunteers; the message of the organization should be clearly delineated to volunteers, whilst training should be provided for volunteers so that they fit in with organizational framework and team and are comfortable in their new environment. Finally, people are more likely to volunteer along with someone they know (Govekar, 2004); therefore a 'buddy volunteer' program might be a viable option for the organization.

2. Leader Characteristics

The characteristics of a leader are of prime importance, and these characteristics, according to Smith (2005) based on a Newsweek magazine survey include: charisma, compassion, courage, leading by example, taking responsibility, and a sense of humor. To elaborate on some of these elements: compassion necessitates that the leader be constantly aware of the moods of others belonging to his organization; courage involves the willingness to assume responsibility not only for one's own actions but also for those of volunteers; whilst a sense of humor and optimism is essential for morale. The leader has to be able to empower his subordinates. They look up to him for support and direction, and therefore need consistency and coherence regarding their joint journey. All involved in that organization -- crafting the mission and its odyssey -- have particular skills and knowledge, and the leader and her organization would benefit by the leader encouraging his volunteers to use their specialty to improve correlated parts of the organization needing that skill. The leader's trick is to not only know each and everyone of his subordinates but also to genuinely befriend them so that diverse value systems are blended into an optimum whole for the good of the organization. Finally, "how volunteers perceive the leader will be directly affected how they think the leader perceives them" (Smith, 2005) and the product of than perception will be replicated in the performance. Volunteers who are treated in a respectful manner will reciprocate in kind. Empathetic listening, appreciation for members' specific skills, knowledge and involvement, encouraging involvement and soliciting suggestions all helps. Laura Way mentioned that she sets "a positive example by using hard work as well as being honest with yourself and my co-workers. I am impassioned about what I do and believe" whilst constantly upgrading her leadership skills through leadership retreats and workshops. Jardina mentioned religion to be her enormous asset guiding her conduct and imbuing her with the confidence necessary to lead others; she improves her leadership abilities by having a coach / mentor to challenge her.


The leader of a NPO has the unenviable task of finding ways to continually motivate and challenge her employees while maintaining high morale. This is not always easy to do particularly given the challenging elements of a NPO, which include low-pay and general job insecurity. Various motivational elements have been suggested -- in particular money, goal-setting, job design, and team participation - but it is ultimately difficult to generalize cross pronto given the multi-facetedness of humans in general and individuals in particular. Goal setting or member participation, for instance, varies in effect depending on individual. There are differences in the degrees to which individuals or employees desire personal or psychological development, and some might not gain any satisfaction from an item, which to another appears a clear reward. Thus, as always, an ideal leader in an ideal case would become intimately acquainted with the driving characteristics of each and every individual, taking the time to better understand her subordinates before employing a one-size-fits-all prescription for motivation.

In short, J.M.Jardine summed up this essay best by stating that: "Leadership is about instilling the importance of doing "ordinary" tasks to the best of their ability. This is the foundation on which "extraordinary" events can and will occur." A person who, by respecting his subordinates, can imbue them with this message must be a terrific leader indeed. Such a leader should have no (or little) difficulty with motivating and challenging his or her employees, and will always find ways to motivate his incumbents to grow. The leader of a NPO can motivate his employees and propel his organization through the rocky 2000s by focusing on each and everyone of his employees as an individual and acknowledging them for their individuality. Doing so, might best enable him to maintain his workforce whilst encouraging his organization to grow.


Alatrista, J., & Arrowsmith, J. (2004). Managing employee commitment in the not-for-profit sector. Personnel Review, 33, 536-548.

Brandl, J., & Guttl, W.H. (2007). Organizational antecedents of pay-for-performance systems in nonprofit organizations. International Society for Third-Sector Research, 1, 176-199.

Govekar, P. (2004). Are you making it hard to volunteer? Nonprofit World, 22, 24-25.

Murray, V., Bradshaw, P. And Wolpin, J. (1992) Power in and around nonprofit boards: A neglected dimension of governance. Nonprofit World, 3, 165-182.

Perry, J., Mesch, D., & Paarlberg, L. (2006). Motivating employees in a new governance era. Public Administration Review, 66, 505-514.

Smith, M.F. (2005) Recruiting and maintaining a corps of volunteers isn't easy. Executive Speeches, 19, 28-31.

Young, D.R.,…

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