Organization Development



Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organization Development (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Alla Heorhiadi

Second Advisor

John Conbere

Third Advisor

Dean Hildebrandt


In an era of slow economic growth, tight budgets, uncertainty, and change, it is important to identify the skills and competencies necessary for successful nonprofit executive leadership, which helps to lower operating costs, secure public and private funding, and meet financial and business performance measures. This study highlighted the complexity of skills and competencies that characterize effective nonprofit executive leaders. The interpretive multiple case study methodology allowed me to capture the skills, competencies, experiences, insights, and perspectives of 15 participants, representing five of the top 15 Minneapolis and St. Paul metro-area civic nonprofit organizations. The CEOs had from 6 to 40 years of nonprofit experience, representing organizations with annual revenues between $40 million and more than $110 million. Foremost, the three themes that emerged regarding the necessary skills and competencies for nonprofit executives to succeed were establish metrics based on community needs, demonstrate business acumen, and manage work complexity. The concept of value on investment (VOI) emerged in the study, which is akin to return on investment and social return on investment. Nonprofit organizations show VOI to the community by demonstrating how it really makes a difference in the neighborhood opposed to any other type of organization and service. This is a framework to understand and to analyze both the nonprofit and community impact. VOI reflects both the tangible and intangible benefits and the value of investing in nonprofit organizations. VOI is important for nonprofit executives in the pursuit of stakeholder engagement and commitment of both time and treasure to achieve the organization’s mission.

Creative Commons License

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

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