Leaders of nonprofits that use sport to better society often lack business skills

phys.org | 8/24/2017 | Staff
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While the number of nonprofits promoting sport as a tool for empowerment and social justice has increased significantly over the past two decades, many of these organizations fail—their efforts to change the world stymied by leadership deficits and stakeholder skepticism, a new study suggests.

Although passionate about their organizational mission, the leaders of these nonprofits frequently lack the business acumen and training in nonprofit management that are critical to their organizations' survival, said University of Illinois recreation, sport and tourism professor Jon Welty Peachey.

Sustainability - Depends - Ability - Organization - Vision

"That's problematic because the long-term sustainability of any nonprofit depends on your ability to manage an organization, to have vision, guide and steer that organization amidst external and internal forces and pressures," Welty Peachey said. "While entrepreneurship might not be the first characteristic that comes to mind when talking about the nonprofit community, it has become a vital aspect of sustainability."

He and his co-authors interviewed the managers of 30 nonprofits of varying sizes in locations around the world, discussing the barriers their organizations faced—and the strategies they employed to surmount them—while scaling up their nonprofits.

Sport - Development - Africa - Countries - Case

"We often think of sport for development as happening in Africa and less developed countries, but that's not necessarily the case because there are well over a thousand of these organizations in Australia, Canada, England, Europe and the U.S., primarily in urban environments, but also some rural areas," Welty Peachey said.

The groups in the study offered various types of sports programs—including martial arts, running and other activities—to empower youth, women or refugees; promote health, community development or peace; or fight climate change.

People - Nonprofits - Athletes - Coaches - Field

While most of the people working for sport-for-development nonprofits such as former athletes and coaches enter the field because they are "very passionate or evangelical" about sport's capability to promote empowerment and social justice, Welty Peachey said they often have little experience in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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