Engaging Volunteers to Make Your Nonprofit Vision A Reality (Diana Zhang)

March 2022

Do you consider your nonprofit leadership a calling? Perhaps you saw individuals on the precipice during the pandemic, and simply had to do something. Like other talented professionals who have joined our ranks as a "lateral entry", Diana Zhang recognized this crisis as a call to action and left her successful 15-year hedge fund career to co-found the nonprofit organization called NeighborShareIn episode #151 of Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership, we discuss what it takes to pivot mid-career and launch a successful nonprofit startup.  

Diana shares the challenges she faced, the lessons learned and the humility required to seek and accept strategic partners for assistance. She has valuable lessons for every nonprofit leader regardless of where your nonprofit is in its life-cycle, and other potential lateral entries will get great advice about understanding the skills they'll need to transfer from for-profit to the nonprofit sector. 

As the head of an almost exclusively volunteer organization that now operates in 26 states nationally, Diana discusses the three key elements of their value proposition and how this structure engages and retains excellent volunteers.

"Nonprofit leaders must better understand the value exchange between the individual and the organization in order to strengthen their volunteer program."



Diana Zhang is the CEO and Co-Founder of NeighborShare, a rapidly-growing direct giving approach that empowers our communities' frontline heroes to help families through critical moments of need of $400 or less. Prior to that, she spent 15 years in strategy and operations as an executive at Bridgewater Associates, a premier asset management firm with $150 billion AUM. Outside of work, Diana is passionate about food and advocating on behalf of those who lack access to it. She serves on the Board of the Connecticut Food Bank / Foodshare.



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 through 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.