An Evaluation of Executive Lab: The Impact of Our Leadership Training

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Planning: Strategy & Workforce


A not-for-profit organization’s effectiveness and capacity to navigate change depends largely on its people. Ask anyone about the characteristics of strong and effective not-for-profit organizations and the conversation will inevitably turn to leadership.

Vantage Point’s work is in building the skills and knowledge of not-for-profit leaders to strengthen their leadership performance and impact. In 2017, we did an in-depth evaluation of our program Executive Lab, an advanced program for senior leaders. The impact on individuals and organizations is remarkable.

Vantage Point’s Executive Lab program was first launched as the Executive Director Learning Circle in 2006. Since then, we have engaged nearly 150 senior not-for-profit leaders in peer-based learning to develop personal leadership competencies and improve organizational performance.

Through online survey responses and participant interviews, past Executive Lab participants confirmed that the program directly impacted their leadership abilities in several ways:

  • 82% of participants agreed that because of Executive Lab, their effectiveness as a leader, confidence, and competence with their executive role and responsibility greatly improved
  • 73% said their relationship with their board has improved
  • 68% significantly increased the number of donors and volunteers committed to their cause
  • 100% said the scope of programs was much better
  • 75% said their program effectiveness was much better The evaluation included three core themes to determine the specific areas of the program’s impact:

1. Leadership Effectiveness: In terms of their leadership, participants saw the largest increase in their comfort with their executive director role, leadership effectiveness, leadership strengths, and relationship with their board. These elements are all critical to the success of senior not-for-profit leaders.

2. Organizational Effectiveness: Participants reported an increase in their organizational budget, increase in donors, reduction of staff turnover, and increase in their number of volunteers. These measures show an increased capacity in these organizations, as well as a strengthened resiliency.

3. Organizational Change: Participants saw an increase in their scope of programs, staff knowledge, community outreach, and program effectiveness. It is through these types of changes that not-for-profits can better fulfill their missions. We know that one of the challenges in supporting capacity building is that the impact doesn’t happen overnight. The impact of our work is long term, and not always easy to articulate. These results are truly remarkable and overwhelmingly point to the fact that leadership training is crucial in the success and sustainability of not-for-profit organizations.

At Vantage Point we are fully committed to lifting leadership in the sector.

Join us for Executive Lab 2018

Our next cohort of Executive Lab begins on March 7, 2018. Applications are due February 14, 2018. Apply today!

About the Author

As Vantage Point's Executive Director, Denise is responsible for leading and executing Vantage Point’s mission to totally transform the not-for-profit sector through building leadership capability. She has a significant record of achievement in the areas of Strategic Planning, Team Development...

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