The Push and Pull: Declining Interest in Nonprofit Leadership

This report presents findings from BMP’s 2022 survey of more than 3,000 nonprofit staff on the factors related to their aspiration to top leadership roles, as well as the experiences of current nonprofit leaders. The 2022 survey included many of the same questions asked in both the 2019 and 2016 Race to Lead surveys, tracking patterns on aspiration, experiences, and challenges in the sector over time. BMP also looked at trends over the three iterations of the survey in two additional pieces on key race to lead findings and demographics.

The Push and Pull: Declining Interest in Nonprofit Leadership highlights a new trend since 2019: a decreased interest in top leadership roles and a simultaneous increase in respondents who said they were not interested in these roles. The report also shows that, contrary to our hypotheses, respondents who had received more supports were less interested in the executive director role while respondents who faced more challenges in their careers were more likely to pursue top leadership positions. BIPOC respondents more commonly faced these challenges overall, though the trend in aspiration was true for both BIPOC and white survey takers. These trends suggest a “push” into leadership roles to ameliorate the issues nonprofit staff have experienced, rather than a “pull” into these roles on their merit. Finally, to explain why BIPOC staff were particularly less interested in the executive director position, this report looks at the obstacles BIPOC leaders face in their roles.

To learn more, download the brief and check out the other reports in the Race to Lead series at

© 2024 All Rights Reserved