Patricia Bellinger, executive director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, offers important perspective on the value of nonprofit talent development:

I’m struck by the greater focus on talent development in the corporate world because such a high percentage of nonprofits provide people-intensive services. The truth is that investment in talent isn’t always expensive. Ninety percent of talent development is learning on the job and it’s about leaders prioritizing and delivering this. I’m not saying corporations get this right every time, but corporations tend to invest time and resources to develop and retain great people, and nonprofits could be more intentional about this by doubling down on the training and expertise needed for strategy and leadership development.

I’ve found this to be a real need, anecdotally. I’m proud of the fact that we budgeted specifically for “Professional Development” in the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network‘s budget this year. It’s the first time in the 11+ years since its founding that there’s been anything budgeted for talent development.