Bayer Center - What Now? Research

How will the impending retirement of nonprofit leaders change the sector?

Retirement. The nonprofit sector stands at a precipice. The response of the community will shape the future of nonprofits. Are we ready to discuss hard questions of retirement and the treatment of the nonprofit community workforce?

What Now?

This pioneering BCNM project brings vital research, conversations and experts together to explore:

  • the ramifications of these retirements on the organizations that serve our communities.
  • the need for better preparation of the next generation of nonprofit leaders.
  • ideas to improve the prospects for all nonprofit employees.

Take the journey through our research and follow nonprofit stories as the most seasoned leaders and staff members of our communities' vital nonprofits move into retirement.

I didn't like learning that I had a negative net worth, but I can work on that!

Young Nonprofit Professional

Research Results

Our research was presented on Friday, January 26, 2018 at a morning Leadership Briefing for nonprofit leaders.

White Paper: What funders are saying about retirements in the nonprofit sector

We asked 11 representatives of the funding community of greater Pittsburgh about this looming question--one of real significance to their core mission of investment in strong communities led by effective leaders. Together, these funders steward assets in excess of $7 billion. Read our downloadable PDF white paper on what these regional leaders had to say.


Purpose driven founders and leaders are facing retirement.

Southwestern Pennsylvania is a region dense with nonprofit organizations that deliver services of real consequence. Teetering between eventual retirement and possible encore careers, a massive core of the region's seasoned nonprofit professionals are not going anywhere. They are among the most highly educated and least financially prepared individuals to face retirement.

Who is going to tell you when you're losing your fastball?

Seasoned Nonprofit Executive

Many organizations have long-tenured executives with boards who have never had to hire anyone. These same organizations often have long-standing funding relationships. Nonprofit human resources practices are often week. Succession planning is not the norm. These organizations often have long-standing funding relationships. New ideas, new blood are challenging to the status quo - but the clock is ticking!

Research findings from the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at RMU indicate this generation of experienced nonprofit leaders and employees may bring uncertainty to both their own futures and to the stability of their organizations. Findings confirm that tools for retirement planning for individuals and succession plans for nonprofit organizations are scarce. How nonprofits respond to this reality will shape the future of the sector.