There are several needs and challenges that the project aims to address. To start with, it has been challenging for civil society organizations to find new executive directors. The reputation of the third sector as an employer is lower than that of the private and public sector (less funds, difficult topics, long-term goals and results are not immediately visible). At the same time, CSOs find it quite easy to find experts, project managers and other specialists. People working in the sector are often experts in their field but may not be able to see the big picture as a leader. Leading a CSO is often seen as an overly responsible position where support (funds, team, know how, partners etc.) is lacking.
As for the needs and challenges mentioned above, the project has a way to adressing these. At the beginning of the development program, a competency model for CSO leaders was developed with executive directors leading CSOs today. The development program was designed based on this model. The model is used to evaluate the progress of participants throughout the program.
Participants are selected based on their willingness and motivation to become a professional leader of a CSO one day.
During the implementation of the project the following results are expected:
1. Development of a coherent competency model to design the development program and suitable for other partners and organizations to adapt and use, for example for supporting current leaders, recruiting team members and new leaders, motivating them, etc.
2. At least 20 future leaders with modern management knowledge have been trained and prepared to work as an executive director in one civil society organization.
The project is expected to benefit at several different levels, in a way that pertains remarkable newcomers by combining their multiple knowledge and experience. The development program aims to prepare future leaders who would take Estonian civil society organisations (CSO) to a new level. Therefore, the entire sector and organizations in it are expected to benefit in some level. Throughout the program participants’ knowledge, skills and attitude are analysed and developed by working on their motivation, willingness and courage to take on bigger responsibility in leading a CSO in their field of interest. Some of the participants of the development program (participated from June 2020 – June 2021) have already become leaders, board members, advocacy experts, etc. The participants and the organizations they work for have both benefitted from the program.