Have you given any thought to whether your management talents and personality are a better fit for the corporate sector or for the nonprofit sector? Although leadership always involves managing resources, leading teams, and making good decisions, there are vast differences between the two sectors.

Building a Strong Team

In the nonprofit world, the hurdles a manager has to leap to manage human resources are very different from those in the business world. A nonprofit often depends on volunteers, who aren’t as motivated by traditional factors like pay, benefits, or opportunities for advancement. Incentivizing a volunteer staff is a problem unique to nonprofits. Businesses must deal with other issues, like shortages of skilled workers and increases in outsourcing and use of independent contractors.

Steering Through Change

Running a successful business or nonprofit is similar to steering a ship through a storm. Leaders must stay on course and make steady progress toward goals even when the climate around them is in a state of constant upheaval. The specific changes each group faces are starkly different, though. The globalization of the economy and the constantly changing technology that consumers use to respond to advertising and shop for products and services strongly affects businesses. Nonprofits are directly affected by politics, with potentially massive changes to their budgets and regulatory environments with each federal and state election.

Financial Success

Business managers are responsible for delivering profits and steadily increasing earnings for their boards and shareholders. They make decisions about leveraging future profits with bank loans, maximizing profitability, and controlling costs. Nonprofits are in a different financial bind, competing for a decreasing pool of donations and grants.

Learn more about the differences and similarities between the two sectors by looking over this NEC MSM corporate and non-profit leaders infographic, created by NEC’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Corporate and Non-Profit Leaders: Similar or Very Different?

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