What is Your Nonprofit Career Vision? 6 Questions You Need to Answer (Patton McDowell)

June 2020

These are challenging times for all kinds of reasons, given the isolation of the pandemic, the obvious disparities of race and privilege we're seeing up close, and the economic uncertainties that affect our personal and professional livelihoods.  These existential questions don't have easy answers, but nonprofit leaders are looking for guidance as they get their heads around them and evaluate what it means for their career journey.  This Bonus Episode of the Path (#43) includes a framework used in Patton's coaching within Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership, including six specific questions that will help sharpen your goals and design a Vision Framework.  We've all had more time to reflect these days, and these questions will give you things to consider and perhaps prompt a writing or journaling exercise. As a result, you'll better articulate your long-term goals on the Nonprofit Path.

"The power of the Vision Framework is that it adds a layer of specificity to your career goal so that the rest of your planning will accelerate your success."  

Patton has spent his entire 30-year career helping talented individuals raise more funds and effectively lead their nonprofit organizations. After starting his consulting practice in 2009, he and his colleagues have worked with the leaders of more than 230 nonprofit organizations.  Prior to his work at PMA Consulting, he spent a decade in higher education as Vice President for Advancement at Queens University after serving in the same role at UNC Wilmington, where he was the youngest vice chancellor in the UNC system. Before his tenure in higher education, he worked as the state Program Director for Special Olympics North Carolina and as an Assistant for Education & Training for Special Olympics International in Washington DC.  Patton grew up in Elizabeth City, NC, and went to UNC Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar where he received a BA in English Education. He received his MBA from the McColl School of Business while working at Queens, and his Doctorate in Education (Organizational Change & Leadership) from the Rossier School at the University of Southern California. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), and a Master Trainer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International. He also serves as the Lead Faculty Member for the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership in Charlotte, where he works with aspiring nonprofit leaders through the New Development Directors program and coaches an annual cohort of Executive Directors and Chief Development Officers through Leadership Gift School. Patton is the host of the weekly podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership


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