Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Corporate Communication



First Advisor

Michael Castro

Second Advisor

Charlene Engleking

Third Advisor

Tom Dehner


This thesis will focus on the study of modem nonprofit organization and the crucial role which leader hip and vision play in fueling these organizations.

Recent literature. written both specifically about nonprofit and about corporate culture in the general business world. suggests that there is a direct correlation between the strength of leadership al the executive and board levels, and the degree to which volunteers and paid staff will "buy-in" to the philosophy and work of the nonprofit . And because of the nature of the nonprofit business, that is, that it exists "for the public good" as opposed to the good of the tock holder. the concept of employee and volunteers embracing the vision of the organization and carrying it with them passionately in the delivery of the service to the community, is even more compelling than in the private sector.

The purpose of this study is to postulate that there is a pattern of success which can be established in the nonprofit organization which will lead to a positive embrace of the corporate vision among staff. both paid and volunteer. and ultimately result in a fruitful delivery of the service which the nonprofit seeks to provide. Experts in the study of nonprofits believe this pattern begins with the Executive Director, who in a very real sense. assumes the central position of authority. responsibility and accountability within the organization. But the ED must work in conjunction with a board of directors which seeks to stay informed. involved and committed to the success of the organization. Together the ED and the board must then seek organization wide consensus on a strategic plan which encompasses every part of the nonprofit. both in the implementation of the service itself. and in the support system which drives that implementation.

But this paper theorizes that the pattern for success does nor end there. It is also suggested in present corporate culture literature that strong leadership will do more than merely provide the framework or success in the traditional sphere of management tasks such as controlling. delegating, planning. and organizing. Recent studies confirm that it is vital that leadership nourish the human side of business, as well. And again. this seems to be almost doubly important in the world of nonprofits. This writing establishes four crucial leadership elements as essential for a passionate embrace of the nonprofit vision. They are strength. transparency. ethical behavior, and a personal connection of employee or volunteer to the lifeblood of the organization. These points are packaged together as the STEP plan.

The purpose of this paper. then, is to establish these vital element. of strong organizational leadership as the building blocks of a successful nonprofit agency. which can dynamically meet the purpose for which it was formed.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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