The Three Types of Nonprofit Thought Leaders

nonprofit thought leadership

Watch this webinar now with a free membership

Last week Kivi presented a free webinar on thought leadership for nonprofits. If you missed that presentation, you can now find the recording on our Free Membership Dashboard.

If you aren’t a member, sign up is quick and easy (and obviously free!).

During that webinar, Kivi went over the 5-step process for creating a thought leadership communications plan and how to avoid common pitfalls and get past potential barriers.

She also shared that there are basically three different types of thought leaders in nonprofits today:

  • The expert with real world experience
  • The expert with insightful perspectives
  • The reporting expert

Here is a quick breakdown for each one.

The Expert with Real World Experience

These experts are the boots-on-the-ground folks who personally witness the issues your organization deals with.

This expert:

  • Talks about very practical validated approaches
  • Finds new ways to solve problems in their sector
  • Can be privy to very private experiences or are in a remote location

The Expert with Insightful Perspectives

These experts are your visionary leaders and are often the founders of your organization.

This expert:

  • Is less tactical and focuses more on big picture thinking
  • Challenges the status quo
  • Inspires others with a big personality or a personal story

The Reporting Expert

These experts pay close attention to what is going on around them, can synthesize that information and relay it in a way that’s easy for others to understand.

This expert:

  • Constantly listens to your community
  • Soaks it all up and squeezes it back out like a sponge
  • Collects information via crowd sourcing or convening groups

We polled those who attended the webinar live and asked which of the three types of thought leader best matched. Here are the results:

While there was an edge to the Expert with Real World Experience, the others were evenly matched.

What about you? What type of expert do you have at your nonprofit? You can answer in the comments below.

If you want to learn even more about thought leadership, join us for our next Nonprofit Marketing Accelerator on Becoming a Thought Leader and Media Darling.



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Author: Kristina Leroux, Community Engagement Manager

I am the Community Engagement Manager at Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com.

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