Sports Foundation Leadership: Ten Tips for Sustainability
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By Gregory Santore, Managing Director, Sports Leadership Practice

Sports foundation leaders have become a lot more sophisticated and savvy than in the past, as nonprofit and charitable organizations multiply yet compete with each other for limited resources. Sustainability must be a key focus for all foundations if they are to fulfill their missions over time.

Greg Santore

Greg Santore

What follows are ten essential tips that sports foundation leadership can follow to keep their organizations viable over the long haul.

  1. Skate to the puck. Understand which leadership skills will be critical for not-for-profits like yours in the future, not just now.
  2. Assess your bench strength. Always know what competencies and skills you have on your leadership team and staff.
  3. Hire leaders as well as managers. It’s a fine distinction, but you need both in your organization.
  4. Focus on retention. Keeping your best people on board is a recipe for success.
  5. Know your employees. To retain people, ask them what’s important and how their jobs can be more fulfilling.
  6. Mentor and develop. People will stay if they know they can grow.
  7. Pay well and promote. Good professionals expect to be rewarded, period.
  8. Live the mission. Make sure it guides strategy and gives employees, volunteers, and donors a reason to stay committed.
  9. Rely on statistics. Know what’s working and what’s not. Quantify financial and mission success.
  10. Conduct succession planning. Anticipate future leadership needs and have a formal plan to develop from within and find new talent.

A sustainable foundation, like a winning sports team, needs to have great leadership and strategy.

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