Management roles in the business and nonprofit sectors may seem very similar on the surface. Leaders in both fields are setting goals, managing teams, juggling finances, and riding the waves of changing market conditions and technology. But there are distinct differences in leadership roles between the two types of operations.
Each sector grapples with slightly different issues in the marketplace. When it comes to human resources, private companies might struggle to manage acute shortages of skilled workers and the rise of independent contractors. In the nonprofit world, the biggest challenge is often managing volunteers, who can have a completely different work ethic than employees. Operating in a changing climate is another problem that both groups face but in very different ways. Businesses must try to keep up with globalization and sweeping changes in technology, whereas nonprofits battle with political changes that keep state and federal regulations in constant flux, as well as with disasters that capture the public’s attention and divert potential funding from ongoing concerns.
Finances and Funding
Both sets of leaders, however, are ultimately responsible for creating a financially healthy organization. For business managers, that means constantly increasing sales, controlling costs, and improving the profit margin. Businesses must also make themselves competitive for bank lending. Nonprofit leaders, by contrast, depend on their team’s ability to attract donations and grants from those who are willing to support the organization without asking for anything in return.
In spite of all these differences, the two groups of leaders have a great deal in common. They both deal with regulatory scrutiny, creating or sustaining a brand that resonates with people, and adapting to the changing ways consumers use technology. Check out this NEC MSM corporate and non-profit leaders infographic for more information comparing the two career tracks.