A snapshot of Indian NGOs' leadership development gap

The Bridgespan Group surveyed approximately 250 leaders from Indian NGOs and the Indian offices of international NGOs, to look into NGOs’ efforts to strengthen their leaders’ skill sets and build their leadership bench

Pritha Venkatachalam is a partner with The Bridgespan Group in Mumbai and co-author of the report, Building the Bench at Indian NGOs. Danielle Berfond is a Bridgespan Group manager and co-author of the same report

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Exceptional non-governmental organisations (NGOs) rely on exceptional leaders. In the Indian social sector, a senior team’s competence is often the make-or-break factor in an organisation’s ability to take strides toward such ambitious goals as providing equitable healthcare, ensuring high quality education for children, or providing access to safe water and basic sanitation. Yet widespread doubts persist about whether there is sufficient investment in NGO leadership teams to achieve these important outcomes.

Against this backdrop, The Bridgespan Group, with support from Omidyar Network, undertook what we believe is the first data-driven study of NGO leadership development in India, called 'Building the Bench at India NGOs: Investing to Fill the Leadership Development Gap.'

Surveying approximately 250 leaders from Indian NGOs and the Indian offices of international NGOs, the study looked into NGOs’ efforts to strengthen their leaders’ skill sets and build their leadership bench. This is the first in a series of key findings:

Many Indian NGOs lack a strong second line Less than half of Indian NGOs are confident that there is someone to succeed their senior leader
chart1More than 50 percent of survey respondents say they lack confidence that someone could effectively lead the organisation in the absence of their senior leader.

Even among NGOs with more than 200 full-time employees, presumably organisations with more at stake, fewer than 60 percent are confident that their second-line managers can rise to fill that role.

This is the first chart of a 10-part series from The Bridgespan Group. Read the introductory post here. Watch this space for a new chart of their survey findings every Friday

Pritha Venkatachalam is a partner with The Bridgespan Group in Mumbai and co-author of the report, 'Building the Bench at Indian NGOs'. Danielle Berfond is a Bridgespan Group manager and co-author of the same report.

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