Developing a Competency Model to Live Your Life: A Guide for Young Nonprofit Professionals by Lee Nave


Developing a Competency Model to Live Your Life: A Guide for Young Nonprofit Professionals

By Lee Nave

The need to understand your values as a nonprofit worker and a person are something that comes hard to young professionals. It is a process that takes in some cases, years to really understand until a sense of stability in employment is achieved. However, introspective consulting as well as group discussions could potentially lead a young professional faster to this knowledge.

During a weekend at Atlanta in the YNPN National Conference, there was a Competency Models discussion lead by the North Carolina Triangle YNPN Chapter. This conversation was interactive on both the individual and collective area, forcing you as an individual as well as a group to under what does it mean to be an emerging, nonprofit leader.

In order to process that, there are four basic pillars that need to be understood: effective communication, personal management, leadership development, and technical skills.

Below is a chart that goes further into detail about each pillar, providing some key attributes.

Effective Communication

Personal Management

Leadership Development

Technical Skills


Time management

Decision Making

Budget Management


Work/life balance


Data Management




Evaluation Skills

Presentation skills

Personal Branding

Conducting a meeting

Social Media

Writing Skills


Motivating and Supporting Others



Resiliency, adaptability, flexibility


Governance & Board Relations

Collaboration/Team Work

Commitment to equity and inclusion


What a young professional can take from this, is that there are multiple tenets you could fill in different areas but understanding your thought process on your everyday work is important. It allows you to have a plan of “attack” for any problems you encounter, as well as fulfilling your usual job.  However, even with the broad selection of skills listed in the chart above, there are still chances that one of these will not fit you. Understanding that not everyone fits in the same box is vital in understanding yourself as well as the people around you.

During our group exercises, we were asked the following questions:

  • Which competency is your biggest strength and why?
  • Which competency would you like to develop the most and why?
  • Are there any competencies you would add?

These questions allowed you as a group member to create an entirely new competency model example or to just tweak and add on to ones already in existence. As the YNPN Triangle NC representatives stated, having a “Competency Model” provides clarity in your life. So with whatever model you choose, hopefully just understanding how you think will impact how you work and grow as an emerging leader.

Additional Resources

YNPN Triangle NC Competency Model



Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.