Fairmount InSights

Our clients come to us carrying different goals to move their organization forward. 

Some need to generate funding in new ways after their once-steady sources become obsolete. Others want to create a stronger, more engaged board. Some face uncertainty about the best approach to expand their organization.

A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. The answer often depends on the unique qualities of a particular organization like their resources and capacity to implement different solutions.

But leadership is a significant factor for nonprofit success that’s often overlooked. Strong leadership is a resource that’s necessary for long-term success, just like sufficient funding.

Part of our role at Fairmount is to remove barriers preventing clients from reaching their goals and offering solutions to challenges based on best-practices and experience. We put tools in place to help nonprofit decision makers become the best leaders possible. Since we’ve worked with more than 325 nonprofits throughout the past 22 years, we have extensive experience about what strong leadership looks like.

Identifying Strong Nonprofit Leadership

Below are four must-have qualities we believe strong nonprofit leaders possess:

  • Aware – good leaders “get it.” They thoroughly understand the dynamics inside and surrounding their organization. They possess the ability to understand their work in a broader context that goes beyond just knowing about the needs of their staff and the people they serve.
  • Willing – good leaders understand their responsibility to make difficult decisions and possess the grit to follow through to make hard choices. This distinction is important. Leaders must first understand – and embrace – that their role requires them to make tough decisions before they’re able to act.
  • Persistent – good leaders introduce smart ideas and figure out ways to garner support from others, even when facing resistance. Being able to rally others to their cause is critical for getting initiatives approved.
  • Inclusive – good leaders invite others to share in the organization’s successes while taking responsibility for setbacks. This behavior inspires an organization’s staff, volunteers, donors, and collaborators to feel their contribution to matters.


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