5 Priorities of the Best Nonprofit Leaders (Patton McDowell)

October 2021

Ever wonder what the best nonprofit leaders are focused on?  After working with nearly 250 nonprofit organizations, and having interviewed over 120 talented nonprofit leaders from around the world on the podcast, Patton has narrowed his list to these five priorities which distinguish the best leaders from the rest in episode #127 of the Path Podcast.  Are you able to articulate a clear vision for your organization?  What specific methods are you utilizing to develop your talent?  How do you measure your outputs and your outcomes?  Do you attack all five phases of the relationship-building cycle?  Do you build upon existing alliances and seek new ones?  Lots of practical takeaways in this solo edition of the Path. 


"The most effective nonprofit leaders are able to balance the daily tactical "storms" while at the same time carving out the strategic time their organization requires long-term."


Patton McDowell has enjoyed a successful 30-year career in nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, and organizational development. His consulting practice has allowed him to work with more than 245 organizations throughout the Southeast, including nonprofits focused on healthcare, education, arts & culture, and human services. Prior to founding PMA Consulting in 2009, he served as Vice President for University Advancement at Queens University of Charlotte where he was responsible for all fundraising, communications, and alumni programs for the university.  Before Queens, Patton served as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at UNC Wilmington, where he was the youngest vice chancellor in the 16-campus UNC system. He previously served as Program Director for Special Olympics North Carolina in Raleigh, following his tenure with Special Olympics International in Washington, D.C.  Patton is a native of Elizabeth City, NC, and received a bachelor's degree in English Education from UNC Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He received his MBA from the McColl School of Business at Queens, and his Doctorate in Education (Organizational Change and Leadership) from the Rossier School at the University of Southern California. He is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), a Master Trainer for AFP International, and a member of the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations. Patton is a former board President of AFP Charlotte, served as the Chapter Representative on the AFP International Board, and is the host of the weekly podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership.

About PMA Nonprofit Leadership 

As a firm, PMA Nonprofit Leadership is constantly developing content and programs to help you in three distinct ways.  The first way is to help you be a thought leader in the nonprofit sector by producing weekly content through our podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership. The second way is through individual coaching, training and our unique Mastermind Nonprofit Leadership program. The third way is to help your nonprofit organization through support of its strategic planning, board & staff development, and fundraising. Through our exclusive partnership with the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, we also  guide aspiring nonprofit leaders thought the virtual New Development Professionals cohort training program, as well as the annual Leadership Gift School, now entering its 10th cohort season.  Let us know how we can help you! Join our community by signing up for our free resources here, and schedule a call if you'd like to learn more about ways we can help you on your journey to nonprofit leadership.