Reflections on Leadership Challenges Facing the Sector: Can Managers Cope?

Posted on
16 May 2022
by Dennis O’Connor, CEO of 2into3

There are three sectors in the economy. The 1st is the public sector, the 2nd is the private sector and the 3rd is the nonprofit sector. All three sectors are impacted by Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental changes but all adapt at different rates.

The 2nd sector typically adapts the quickest because if private firms do not adapt to change, they lose business to competitors and/or run out of funds and they fail or are taken over. The 3rd sector adapts more slowly as income, from the state and donors, is more resilient to change but if they do not adapt their ability to make a social impact is affected. The 1st sector is the last to adapt to change.

The last twenty years have seen an increase in both pace and scale of change: the greatest global financial crash since 1929, a global pandemic, global warming, a land war in Europe and a new cold war between the West and Russia. It has also seen digitisation of work, the agile movement and, with the pandemic and working from home, the move to flexible work.

This level of change has impacted organisations at all levels. From the Leaders/CEOs down to the service users. As a result, the Managers job in 2022 is unrecognisable from what is used to be. This poses several questions: Are today's managers equipped to do their job? And what role does Leadership play? How can we as Leaders of our organisations help manage the shift in power, skills and structure to help our managers? Without a new approach, the current set of Managers will become overwhelmed, confused and under skilled. This in turn creates significant risk to performance, wellbeing and mission delivery of nonprofits.

Dennis’ address to Summit 2022 will reflect on the challenge facing nonprofit managers and how strong leadership can support them.

2into3 is the Lead Sponsor of Summit 2022

About 2into3

2into3 was founded in 2006 to bring the learnings from the 2nd sector (private) into the 3rd sector (nonprofit) so the nonprofit sector could have a transformative social impact. Dennis O’Connor started his career as a lecturer in Management before spending more than a decade in the International Food Sector in various managerial positions and has spent the last two decades as a Management Consultant to the nonprofit sector. He is the co-founder and CEO of 2into3 and is the founder of For Purpose. 2into3’s insight tools include Nonprofit Talent Trends, The Irish Giving Index and Giving Ireland (in collaboration with Philanthropy Ireland). 2into3 is Ireland’s nonprofit specialist providing management consulting, talent management and insights to more than 300 nonprofits on the island of Ireland. For more information visit

Summit 2022 Programme