Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership: What is the Book About?

December 2021

Everyone has a nonprofit cause they support. Perhaps it is the after-school program that first introduced you to youth sports and now provides an opportunity to serve as a volunteer coach. Maybe it is the children's museum that first sparked your interest in nature that continues through your weekend explorations of state and national parks. Or, sadly, maybe the loss of a loved one to cancer, Alzheimer's, or heart disease fuels your devotion to a nonprofit organization.

While everyone may have a cause, for most individuals, the extent of their involvement extends no further than being a volunteer, donor, or champion. Your interest in this book, however, suggests that your interest in a nonprofit cause - or several causes - is more than that. Maybe you are feeling compelled toward action and inspired to pursue nonprofit leadership in a thoughtful and serious manner. If that is the case, this book is for you.

I have spent my entire thirty-year career helping individuals raise funds for causes they are passionate about and effectively lead their nonprofit organizations. In 2009, I founded Patton McDowell & Associates ("PMA"); since then, I have worked with the leaders of almost 250 nonprofit organizations in every sector, including education, healthcare, arts and culture, and human services. Prior to my work as a coach and consultant, I spent a decade in higher education, including five years as vice president for university advancement at Queens University of Charlotte and five years as vice chancellor for university advancement at UNC Wilmington, where I was the youngest vice chancellor in the UNC system. Before going to Wilmington, I served as program director for Special Olympics North Carolina in Raleigh for seven years, following two years with Special Olympics International in Washington, DC. My work for Special Olympics included the creation of a unique volunteer training system called Sport Development Teams, still in use today worldwide.

There is certainly more than one path to nonprofit leadership. You may be in the midst of a university program that has introduced you to nonprofit work, and the career possibilities intrigue you. You may be ten years into a for-profit job and realize it is not what you thought it would be. Or you may already be working in the nonprofit sector but are now realizing that leading an organization is your ultimate goal.

Regardless of where you are on the nonprofit path, this book is designed to help you identify your leadership goal and create a detailed plan to get you there. To help you create the plan, I will address some of the basic questions that may be on your mind right now:

• What does nonprofit leadership look like?
• How do I position myself for a leadership role?
• What should I do first?

This book is designed to answer these fundamental questions and provide the practical tools and guidance you need to put together a personal strategic plan that will acknowledge where you are on your professional journey, better define your goal, and help you to chart a course to nonprofit leadership. It will help you to accomplish that through seven distinct steps that comprise your path to nonprofit leadership:

1. Sharpen your vision 
2. Map your course
3. Get in shape
4. Curate knowledge 
5. Express yourself
6. Build community
7. Practice leadership

Stay tuned for more updates on the release of Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership in early Spring 2022.  Make sure you join our community by registering your email for our Free Resources.   

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.