Non-Profit Management Challenges

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Deepa Iyer, former Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together, SAALT: Momentous. You mentioned a great visual of building a bridge and walking down the bridge at the same time. I imagine that there have been numerous challenges.

Are there one or two challenges that are foremost in your mind in terms of your experiences leading SAALT?



Deepa Iyer

Non-Profit Management Challenges: Lonely

There are so many challenges. A lot of them are of my own doing or lack of skills.

In many ways, it can be a lonely job. You feel that the buck stops with you.


Non-Profit Management Challenges: Lack of Skill Set

You have to be responsible for a range of decisions from hiring or firing people to raising money to making sure you’re communicating the organization’s interests properly to stakeholders.

There were some of those pieces that I was good at, and there were some that were very difficult for me.

I think trying to round out my skill set and understanding what my blind spots were was a challenge.


Non-Profit Management Challenges: Recognizing Blind Spots

I think people expect you to know it all and multitask when you’re at that level. For me, it was understanding my blind spots and figuring out how I could ask for help.

That was a challenge that I had to deal with and overcome time and again.


Non-Profit Management Challenges: External Crisis

Another piece was that we often felt like we were constantly responding to external crises that were happening in our community, whether it was the Oak Creek tragedy, campaigns in the community that needed to be addressed, immigration or anti-immigrant laws around the country.

There were always these sorts of crisis moments or external moments that we had to pivot and address.


Non-Profit Management Challenges: Unique Work Style

That’s the other thing about non-profits. For those folks who are interested in working at a non-profit, I think you have to develop a work style that can be aligned to the culture of a non-profit.

Those were some of the challenges that, being an executive director, come to mind for me.


Tell Us:

Deepa Iyer shared the non-profit management challenges she has faced. Have you come across these same challenges in your line of work? Tell us what you do in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Deepa Iyer

The entire interview transcript is at: Deepa Iyer NetIP (Network of Indian Professionals) Interview – Leading & Working at Non-Profits

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: NetIP Spotlight- Live Your Potential: Leading & Working at Nonprofits

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes